Thursday Dec 07

BrowneJenny Jenny Browne's most recent collection is Dear Stranger (U of Tampa P, 2013).  Her poems and essays have been featured in American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, The New York Times and Tin House. A recipient of fellowships from the James Michener Center, The Texas Writers' League and the National Endowment for the Arts, she lives in San Antonio, Texas and teaches at Trinity University.



I pull over again & pretend to grow
as the cloudbank says try me,
as tiny red spiders fall from the trees.
In the far pasture a man seeds his own
hands with smoke. I play Bach to forget
my father’s fingertips turning black
as the last morning burned.
Years in the mirror he buttoned
each day a white shirt then flexed,
fake shaking from his own strength.
You can almost smell the horses
getting warm. A Palomino eating herself
lame does not pity the fallen apricots
buzzing madly in the Saint Augustine.
Even the wasp dragging a wolf spider
across the road knows we need more time
to be born, smeared in our own white grease
and tar, more time with our house
on fire oh my god Bach like hot wind
suggesting I make a rule against suggesting
what the good part of any sadness
is too soon. The story we tell ourselves
about air begins by saying people
can change, but we don’t die
from the truth after all. The sun
still hurts & I make the hard sound
a car makes turning over when it has
been all this time running.

Labor Day, Corpus Christi

& children will make a game of anything.

They’ve sung the wrong words,
buried a broken crab, & lunged
face first for the dirty surf

on purpose.

& suddenly I hate them, like I can
hate my own

thoughts, buckled up & useless
in the rearview.

I drive because I am
always driving,

like it’s my job & they’re so tired

from holding hands, screaming
& falling down,

like it’s theirs.

Good Friday

The taqueria’s little dumpster swells,
Idra & me going downtown
to look for Jesus

but mad pregnant Idra is, 
backing up and opening 
her mouth on a yellow paleta.

Next year this time she’ll be back
in biker boots and bougainvillea.

I still owe Idra a fantasy.  
I owe Idra a smoked turkey leg, 
big as a small man’s arm.

We do not make the clouds more useful.
We do not make the Rio Grande dance backwards.

It took the new Jesus all winter 
to grow that beard.  They say he is
blameless and good with animals.

We never saw that passion play,
but I swear we saw Neruda 
hunched on the square, mumbling 

into the ear of his teacup Chihuahua,
weeping a little on yesterday’s trash.