Poems of the Week – Molly Brodak



Whoever Said Hell Is Not Beautiful

The doorknob was not hot.

If death meant

framelessness in landscape,

then I must’ve closed my eyes

at the next alarming vista–

moving towards the gigantic

until I became as small as I needed.

I felt for the edge

& left everyone.

The devil was a man taking bets

while his wife lived alone in bed.

Their trees grew aggressive

on the grade. We shouldered through

the abandoned bodies, made of crime–

bent to fan the gill of a fetus.

He said we couldn’t be human

until we grew something opposable.

Down here you can walk way back

to that black vent in a Cambrian sea

and the thing at the lip

that wanted and tried.


Niger Lullaby

Night comes,
icky baby,
born under the four coins–

on our reed raft,
even the good storm
moves off.

So the heart’s room is black.
Listen, cloud curls, even
grackles bear a gold mouth:

they say stay in dreams
born on a sickbed
o night beach–

bring your flame
under black burlap
no matter what.


Midwest Wilderness

Over the interior sea a fields grew,
patchy snake grass, cold path:

drowsy quartz gravel muttered some,
warned me against the bad old future

as the sky cooled behind the elms
& the dogs went jewely eyed, rubyish, sapphiric.

I met a former friend at some distance.
she put on her hat like if you’re different

then I am too. I forgot her lake-wave hair,
and frowned out I’m not lonely either.

While wind burned from the inside
and cats weaved around, homelesssly,

I saw or thought I saw,
which is the same thing,

outer space, only a few miles away,
close and vast, spreading apart,

in the arbitrary palette of Uccello:
those corals, olive, aquamarine, chrome,

ecstasy in any direction. Black self, white self
lead the way into clouds stony & unreal–

a mourning dove blinked a sky blue eyelid
over the black pupil, the good wound.


* all poems from A Little Middle of the Night, University of Iowa Press, 2010.

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