William Upon William, Day Pit Fire, Car Interior

by Molly Brodak


A hooded gust splits across a vulgar chimney and waves up over the mantle, marble carvings, all white and veiny meaningless reliefs, inhaled by scores of Sarahs remembering the same river, the hanging drone of day, their same selves in the one low boat, and more arriving in fall, docile as uniformed jellies. The painting of a blank dog on a yolk yellow bergère each girl will claim and fold once like a locket in her guts. Below, the fireplace is matte black, a lung of soft grit, sucking from them when miss opens the door. What part of trust is the day’s part? The night rinses it, then anger feels a little farther to go. Knives aligned all over the oak of the refectory. Pointless bulges in each baluster. The automatic drift of miss, finger crook on the cap of the newel, the main steps too slippery for pupils, that parrot blue corridor accusing steadily, a flag for the cross boy in a blurry brown print. The hall will later be admired, no one’s jail, tourists’ lost things not reached after, say a coin kicked under a chest with pierced apron snapped in places from the vacuum. And the picked lock of the stable’s half door unused, now separated from its tall animal and the pupil who came here and cried on her flank.


I love how the cuff clings, I can say love now, it’s just me. The echo talks to rocks and outer space answers. I sound far away. Melt me up, living scum, in a boulder’s yellow creeping coat. Here’s just false flesh in an alcove, an armless recess, like hair space around the neck, long-lived, the time before an embrace that doesn’t ever happen, one growl of all smallnesses, and I say it feels good to be pulp this time, it feels good to not be the axe, but he frowns and hands me the comb and potion. Ice needles shift. The raw end of a worm. I coax a snapping from my long hair. The thin sun of earlier is eaten in clouds, clouds like a promise hid under a ridge between ridges, like clammy smoke sunk in the flume of a word in a book, where there is only up and it is night and night and night and a tent, a thin tent, clear and thin in night then quick uncountable knocking. I keep waking up but I am not here yet. The branch transforms and I breathe it. The tent is so thin. What men want next to them is quiet sea coal satin, in long waves. But, me, I want that too.


A panel of fixed minutes moving through minutes with my face pressed in your dark blue shirt and quiet; a hollow awards the needy, even a corner or the end of some nice talking, it awards, remember. A block of prairie then facades. Cowardice surfaces like an alarm. Toll booth, green neon and green pines. I remembered my whole body listening to you confess. A pain, a drop in my middle like someone waking in me, what world I left! Rude blankets I never looked under.

Molly Brodak

Molly Brodak is the author of A Little Middle of the Night (U of Iowa Press, 2010) and three chapbooks of poetry. Her memoir, Bandit, is forthcoming from Grove/Atlantic in 2016.