Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sometimes She Wakes To War by Michael H. Brownstein


Sometimes she wakes to war
thinking flares of thunder, echoes of lightning,
a grand thunderstorm rattling her windows,
a hurricane, wind swept and damp with sand
violent like the breaking of oyster shells under foot.
Then she remembers who she is.
Sometimes her hair becomes a nest of mosquitoes
and fluid from her eyes semen, her lips exactly
right and she is always imperfectly beautiful.
When her eyes are green, she rubs her left earlobe
and when they are brown, she curls her hands in her lap.
Sometimes the battle goes on for more than a week.
Other times it ends as quickly as a jet flying overhead.
She learns how to eat weeds and sauerkraut,
soup from edible leaves hanging on trees.
Thunder rolls in thick bolts of light,
hurricanes fling glass and bits of bark,
earthquakes go on and on, sidewalks and street
slow motion partners in dance.
Sometimes she sits up in bed,
pauses before thinking and remembers why she is.
It never matters who or what or how.
Sometimes the act of waking is the only thing she needs.

Brief bio:
Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The CafĂ© Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside And Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011) and head administrator of Project Agent Orange (

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