J. Scott Brownlee
The metaphysics seem simple enough. She's alive
till she's hit. My body opens just like hers, gushing
guts and blood. Road kill, I've waited like this
for so many years. Show me the way I should go,
and I'll follow you, breath. Even if you are wind
now, only, transform me. Fill me with your lightness.
Tell me how to return to the place I regret. Make me
transplanted seed. I want to know, still, what it means
to linger without grief. Breath, direct me. I'm tired, now--
too prodigal to be free anymore. I'm prepared to be born,
make my home inside her—in the doe's womb, I mean.
Teach me how any wind lasts long enough to be present
and absent at once as it moves through oak trees--
through the bending of them—joining each green leaf
seen to her death outside me the same way she saw me
from the wheel of my truck as if I wasn't there, then continued--
despite the impact's imminence, her spine's curvaceous holiness,
I felt, watching it slowly crest, as she was fully opened up
to everything so suddenly the burst of her body near mine
might have been, then, a breeze, or the calm after it--
and although resurrection can never be true, I believed
in the doe and her broken briefness in that instant fully,
I thought, running to her as she still tried to breathe,
though she soon expired, and I knew I could never believe
again anything “true” or “holy”—just the doe dying,
then, her last breath against me as I watched her
and felt nothing, no desire, no compulsion—to feed.
J. Scott Brownlee is a Writers in the Public Schools Fellow at NYU. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, RATTLE, Tar River Poetry, Pebble Lake Review, Front Porch, and elsewhere. Involved with several literary journal start-ups, he was the managing editor and co-founder of both Hothouse and The Raleigh Review. His current writing project, County Lines: The Llano Poems, explores small-town life in the Texas Hill Country. A portion of it, Disappearing Town, was recently named a Finalist for the 2012 Bateau Press Boom Chapbook Competition.
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