A Meadow

Lucie Brock-Broido - 1956-2018
What was it I was hungry about. Hunger, it is one 
Of the several contraptions I can turn on the off-button to at will.  

Yes, yes, of course it is an "Art." Of course I will not be here 
Long, not the way the percentages are going now.  

He might have been 
                                     Half-beautiful in a certain optic nerve

Of light, but legible only at particular  
                                     Less snowy distances. I was fixed on

The poplar and the dread.  The night was lung-colored 

And livid still—he would have my way 
                                     With me. In this district of late 

                                     Last light, indicated by the hour of
The beauty of his neck, his face Arabian in contour

Like a Percheron grazing in his dome of grass, 

If there is a god, he is not done
Yet, as if continuing to manhandle the still lives of

The confederate dead this far north, this time of year, each
Just a ghostly reason now. There are reasons:  One, 

Soon the wind will blow Pentecostal with the power of group prayer.

Two: the right to bear arms. Three: you did not find my empathy
Supernatural, at the very least.  

—Have you any ideas that are new?
			
I was fixed on the scythe and the harlequin, on the priggish
Butcher as he cuts the tender loin and

When I saw this spectacle, I wanted to live for a moment for
A moment.  However inelegant it was,

It was what it might have been to be alive, but tenderly.

                                     One thing. One thing. One thing:  	

              Tell me there is
              A meadow, afterward.

More by Lucie Brock-Broido

Carrowmore


All about Carrowmore the lambs
Were blotched blue, belonging.

They were waiting for carnage or
Snuff. This is why they are born

To begin with, to end.
Ruminants do not frighten

At anything--gorge in the soil, butcher
Noise, the mere graze of predators.

All about Carrowmore
The rain quells for three days.

I remember how cold I was, the botched
Job of traveling. And just so.

Wherever I went I came with me.
She buried her bone barrette

In the ground's woolly shaft.
A tear of her hair, an old gift

To the burnt other who went
First. My thick braid, my ornament--

My belonging I
Remember how cold I will be.

Real Life


Soon the electrical wires will grow heavy under the snow.
I am thinking of fire of the possibility of fire & then moving

Across America in a car with a powder blue dashboard,
Moving to country music & the heart

Is torn a little more because the song says the truth.
Because in the thirty-six things that can happen

To people, men & women, women & women,
Men & men, in all these things the soul is bound

To be broken somewhere along the line,
That clove-scented, air-colored wanderer blushing

With no memory, no inkling & then proceeds
Across America

In the sap green of the tropics,
Toward the cadmium of a bitter sunrise to a new age,

At the white impossible ice hour, starving, 
Past the electric blue of the rivers melting down,

Above the nude, snuff, terra cotta, maybe fire,
Over the tiny fragile mound of finger bones

Of an Indian who died standing up, 
Through the heliotrope of a song about the sunset,

To live the thirty-six things 
& never comes home.

Domestic Mysticism

In thrice 10,000 seasons, I will come back to this world
In a white cotton dress. Kingdom of After My Own Heart.
Kingdom of Fragile. Kingdom of Dwarves. When I come home,
Teacups will quiver in their Dresden saucers, pentatonic chimes
Will move in wind. A covey of alley cats will swarm on the side
Porch & perch there, portents with quickened heartbeats
You will feel against your ankles as you pass through.

After the first millennium, we were supposed to die out.
You had your face pressed up against the coarse dyed velvet
Of the curtain, always looking out for your own transmigration:
What colors you would wear, what cut of jewel,
What kind of pageantry, if your legs would be tied
Down, if there would be wandering tribes of minstrels
Following with woodwinds in your wake.

This work of mine, the kind of work which takes no arms to do,
Is least noble of all. It's peopled by Wizards, the Forlorn,
The Awkward, the Blinkers, the Spoon-Fingered, Agnostic Lispers,
Stutterers of Prayer, the Flatulent, the Closet Weepers,
The Charlatans. I am one of those. In January, the month the owls
Nest in, I am a witness & a small thing altogether. The Kingdom
Of Ingratitude. Kingdom of Lies. Kingdom of How Dare I.

I go on dropping words like little pink fish eggs, unawares, slightly
Illiterate, often on the mark. Waiting for the clear whoosh
Of fluid to descend & cover them. A train like a silver 
Russian love pill for the sick at heart passes by
My bedroom window in the night at the speed of mirage.
In the next millenium, I will be middle aged. I do not do well
In the marrow of things. Kingdom of Trick. Kingdom of Drug.

In a lung-shaped suburb of Virginia, my sister will be childless
Inside the ice storm, forcing the narcissus. We will send
Each other valentines. The radio blowing out
Vaughan Williams on the highway's purple moor.
At nine o'clock, we will put away our sewing to speak
Of lofty things while, in the pantry, little plants will nudge
Their frail tips toward the light we made last century.

When I come home, the dwarves will be long
In their shadows & promiscuous. The alley cats will sneak
Inside, curl about the legs of furniture, close the skins
Inside their eyelids, sleep. Orchids will be intercrossed & sturdy.
The sun will go down as I sit, thin armed, small breasted
In my cotton dress, poked with eyelet stitches, a little lace,
In the queer light left when a room snuffs out.

I draw a bath, enter the water as a god enters water:
Fertile, knowing, kind, surrounded by glass objects
Which could break easily if mishandled or ill-touched.
Everyone knows an unworshipped woman will betray you.
There is always that promise, I like that. Kingdom of Kinesis.
Kingdom of Benevolent. I will betray as a god betrays,
With tenderheartedness. I've got this mystic streak in me.

Related Poems

An Obscure Meadow Lures Me

An obscure meadow lures me,
her fast, close-fitting lawns
revolve in me, sleep on my balcony.
They rule her beaches, her indefinite
alabaster dome re-creates itself.
On the waters of a mirror,
the voice cut short crossing a hundred paths,
my memory prepares surprise:
fallow dew in the sky, dew, sudden flash.
Without hearing I’m called:
I slowly enter the meadow,
proudly consumed in a new labyrinth.
Illustrious remains:
a hundred heads, bugles, a thousand shows
baring their sky, their silent sunflower.
Strange the surprise in that sky
where unwilling footfalls turn
and voices swell in its pregnant center.
An obscure meadow goes by.
Between the two, wind or thin paper,
the wind, the wounded wind of this death,
this magic death, one and dismissed.
A bird, another bird, no longer trembles.