A Poem by Hannah Brooks-Motl

From Her Collection Earth

December 6, 2019  By Hannah Brooks-Motl

It was a town and a factory
town they came from, it was earth
in a regular way no longer.
I moved Frances far from the river,
sure that the sentence
rots when no one is in it.
We go on talking, afloat
within the family substance.
No greater perfection, can you see
its basic, growing eye.
Descended on crystals.
Yard booming
new summer, I took away
the Vera irresolute at the edge.
Slid out of our past.
Ran the wrong summer,
began the idea on the side
of the water. It was the character
of apple, crab apple,
mulberry, horse.
The past a computer,
a wild computer. And two lights
from the porch meaning song
or direct quotes.
Disguised as a child
I address you.

Like this Carl who’s rich
and the cousins then poor.
Other cousins are rich.
I am sure that voice is bad.
An uncle is dead,
a Louise. I can’t really feel it,
the lantern under your shirt.
Another brother’s cut off
but goes on living.
The bee on the grass
did a circular phrase.
There is that Viv.
Now she’s ground yellow sticks.
That Stephanie, that Ruth.
Now there’s a horizon
she’s winging toward dead.

These circle me out—
the rich, the deformed.
Or without wanting to get into it
one got in. The middle
the platform, the lung.
Went into the orchard
alone I sat and thought
in the field, not mine
by the simple pronoun, not.
To remember our fight.
In the dark
there is no voice.
The simple answer is kindly.
Drank a coke
by the side of the town.

Plentitude matched only
by dreams and creatures
climbing that dream.
A daisy pattern,
at the end of belief.
Field directed after that
which has received it—
the cup of mint and
each branch.
Waved invitingly
over the pool.

Grace can’t be read,
she’s unavailable then.
The hoax inside the box.
All gold
in the yard.
Extending the river, table
of everyone sitting there,
all the plastic.
Then the quarrel rotted
on the table.
It wasn’t charming
to cover the box with gardens.
Under windows and one
was named Chris.
Chris Chris.
How could I say it
in this age of improvement
that I decayed, that Carl?

From the frame Grace chooses
to speak: the church
had a face
it leaned out from.
The trees
went fine
in their light.
I never understood
the reason for my face.
The way it came up the road.
In the fields carry blight,
lime green of the water
and foam. Despite
our rugged name.
Or foam
of her lips. Face
in its church. He took
the machine. And she
the portrait. So far
no chemist could
locate them.



From Earth by Hannah Brooks-Motl. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher, The Song Cave. Copyright © 2019 by Hannah Brooks-Motl.

Hannah Brooks-Motl
Hannah Brooks-Motl
Hannah Brooks-Motl is the author of the poetry collections The New Years (2014), M (2015), and Earth (2019). Her poems and essays have appeared in the Best American Experimental Writing, the Cambridge Literary Review, the Chicago Review, Modernism/modernity, and Tupelo Quarterly, among other places. She lives in western Massachusetts.

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