Michelle chan Brown, poet, a member of World nation writers union ahd the chief representative of the United States World nation writers Union.
Michelle Chan Brown is the author of the book of poems Double Agent (Kore Press, 2012), winner of the 2011 Kore First Book Award, judged by Bhanu Kapil, and a chapbook, The Clever Decoys (LATR Editions, 2010). She was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and has received scholarships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Wesleyan Writers’ Conference.
A Kundiman fellow, Brown earned an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she was a Rackham Fellow.
Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cimarron Review, Linebreak, The Missouri Review, Quarterly West, Sycamore Review, and Witness, among others. She teaches and serves as the poetry editor for Drunken Boat.
was clerical error.
We were between two wars.
With grungy emperors,
losses were natural.
Some bureaucratic chaos
at the hospital. In yellow,
ferried their cures
undetected. Surgeons spat
The breathing machine,
warbling in a minor key.
On the speakers, Chopin
his skimpy bust
like an offering. A séance,
ghosts she owned
her spine, still rich
with calcium. Her epidural
made her beautiful,
brought out her colors.
It was the year of the vulture.
meat. That notion—
a gourmand’s stinking quilt.
Muslin, cheesecloth, gauze, eyelet.
We will miss being flesh.
says the press, pushing away
bowls dark with Jell-O, tray
after tray. Whatever
it is, I want to starve
or feed it. Optimistic,
No oasis. No stubborn body to medicate.
Nothing to do but wait.
Take out the impatient organs.
That’s some desert we’re burning in.
What we heard about thirst was true.
Everywhere, water. Everywhere, salt.
And we drank it. We learned to love
our crumpling bones. Each sunspot
on our skin deserved a christening.
Distance gifted the world a shimmer.
Time passed, perhaps. We grew wolfish.
Spears of birdcall. Unthinkable birds.
We searched for the isle of women.
We searched for our dead fathers.
We searched for the hardware store.
We were used to solitude. Some of us
had worked the mills, where skylights cracked
and loaned us stars. We learned to relish
the ownership of hours. Our sheets
acceded to the torpor. If you must,
call it sickness — the sea colonized us.
Below muslin, our heartbeats thrilled,
lazy as laps. Breezes licked our faces flat.
If we wept, we wept soundless as sand.
What wave would betray our trust?