Phoenix, Arizona

31 August 2008

Five Poems

Dia de los Muertos

About Meghan Brinson




We sit in a room
and wait to discuss our results.

It is hard to understand
what has happened.

I look at the calendar
on the wall, the only thing
without a uterus on it.

It says November.
Simple. In big western block print.

Above all the squares
of dates
a colored photo of a chestnut horse
running in a green field,

his head turned back
towards me over his shoulder.

I see the bottom of his hooves,
his bent knees as his legs

move his body

further out of frame.




Twice a year, in the spring,
we take our brooms and sweep
the nests off the ledges.

If we go too early, breaking
only eggs, the pigeons
will try again.

So we wait—the classroom
full of adolescents begin to make
their complaints—it is time

to pull out the ladders. A few quick sweeps.
White shit and grass fly.
The chicks, dirty little

broken plums on the sidewalk.




The one boy
cannot keep his eyes
off the other.
If one had a thought
the other missed,

the ribbon holding back
disaster would unravel.
They mumble like
senile little men, sharing
the constant unraveling
of their mouths.

Two catfish are twins.
They used to be boys, before
they were killed
for what some have called

They travel to the underworld,
a blue stomach. They find
the sun crying there, a copper penny,
a widow. If they did not
bring her back, tying her,
still crying, to heaven,
the moon’s light would not
have been enough.

The whispers of these catfish boys
are insistent. They
are planning.
Sound clings
to their whiskers,
soft, dangling
from their chins.




One ginkgo branch extends
over the burlap-covered chain-link fence.
From here I can see a line of mesquite
and scorpion flower.
There is only dirt by the sidewalk,
a line of parking meters.
A heap: wire, mesh and plastic.
Above that—the bent arm
of a yellow scooping machine.
The arm reads “Rainbow.”

This is as far as I got.
Down to the street—1/2 a building—
the crane/bulldozer? that did it
parked in the lot behind it—
curling its arm down like a sleeping bird.



Dia de los Muertos

“Go back for your body”

     —Susan Howe

I didn’t put out the marigolds
or the sweet bread, or the candles
or the milk. The doors are all closed.

Don’t be angry. Don’t slap me in my sleep.
There’s a fistful of earth for you
in this jar. There is a lamp
left burning all night.

It’s a different world now.
Flesh is passé.

Go home.
It isn’t that we don’t want you,
it’s just
that there’s no room anymore
for anyone, much less
for the hungry.
Hunger is passé.

Now we have cigarettes
and aspartame.
They’re in the fridge—whatever you want
is cold now.
Go home.

It will be less strange to you
than the world you remember.



Meghan Brinson hails from Charleston, SC. She attended the Prague Summer Program, was a International Teaching Fellow at the University of Singapore, and holds an MFA from Arizona State University. She is wrapping up a coming of age project and beginning work that further explores her interests of folklore, myth, women's bodies, and the rural South.