Poet of the Week: Brionne Janae

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For Laura Nelson 1878-1911

when they had done with her and the torches
were extinguished with dew, and she lay
like something decaying in mulch,
blood muddied hair, slip bunched about her hips.
when she smelled like the sheets at Rising Sun,

and men scattered like mice before lamplight
and her breath still came like a locomotive before it stalled,
and her arms were tucked beneath her
and her eyes swollen shut. when George had gone for the camera,
took to finding the perfect spot upriver and we were ready
to cast her down to swing beside her son.

I knelt and unbound her arms
to pull them still warm in the sleeve
to lift the brassiere to its proper place
button the blouse, fetch the skirt
from among thick roots where one man pissed
onto the bark. I slid her naked feet
through the opening, lifted the hips
fixed the clasps about her waist.

and we stood on the bridge as the Canadian stretched
calm beneath us, their bodies reflecting with the trees.


Published by Toe Good Poetry

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