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Sidney Louise Brown, three poems

America: 9/11 2002

By the timbre of it, life goes on.

Overhead flight patterns coming and going

not the silent air

of all things stopped.

There is ground travel, mostly rumbling

vibrating diesel, gears shifting gravel loads.

Steel ramps extend,

drop heavy. Freight doors close,

metal slams. Everywhere

Commerce, Commerce, Commerce.

The work of glass plating is another,

its clink pitched high,

notes scaling into the hum

of air conditioning.

Nature tries to be heard.

A few things peep in.

Birdcalls cut through machinery

as the wind stirs movement.

Yet in the shade of this drooping hemlock,

its needles tap drop onto my journal

sounding the haunting song.


Whose hand hulls in to snip

fruit from the whorl whose

Hand peels sheaf-by-sheaf

to pinch out nesting spores whose

Hand shadows then pulls the seed plant

from the fertile loam whose

Hand thins the pear tree deciding two pears –

No – one pear per spur this year whose

Hand mantels green walnuts to blacken

the crinkled stone loose whose

Hand at market reaches for

anything oval for the basket home whose

Hand cups the lemon then the avocado

or quince before wanting the ovolo whose

Carton cradles them – white calcium shells

waiting to break yellow whose

Fluid she desires as blood

flowing in crimson whose

Emptiness longs to nestle ovum

after ovum after ovum whose

Shape she palm wraps with fingers

pronged on a pear whose

Blush is more with moon than sun this

green pome too soon at harvest.

Still Winter

At 5 a.m.

the snow mist lights the air

like sunrise breaking

over the Potomac,

and the cast iron sits warm

near oats boiled and dotted

with last year’s blueberries.

By candlelight and coffee

I am in this predawn moment.

The blizzard an hour away,

by all monitors I am between

Earth and science

wondering about warmth

and this flame I write by

is as still as the sentient trees

anticipating the wind

they know will come.

The birds, yesterday’s jay

and cardinal and the geese, its flock

honking in to the water – gone.

Tucked somewhere

as we brace and ready ourselves

for what is next.

In my 8th floor perch

boxed into the scheme

of someone’s 1960 blueprint,

quiet as the white sky now lights

more of this paper. The shadow

of my pen moves with candle fire.

The clock ticks the only sound

and out there the black and white

grays here and there telling me

color is overrated. The trees

sway as this downfall

dares even the eagle to slice through.

And now it happens. I am in

the current of the marsh curve

against snow banks winding

through the forest, tucked into

the deepest part of me.


Sidney Louise Brown is a retired English teacher and adjunct professor living in Alexandria, Virginia. A Northern Virginia Writing Project Consultant since 1997, after attending the Sewanee Writers Conference in 2000, she gathered national poets and writers to create similar workshops for teachers who write. She has also led meditation walks and retreats throughout the greater D.C. area, published educational articles, and presented her work at educational conferences.

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