Poets

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Brandon Shimoda

Brandon Shimoda is the author of The Grave on the Wall (City Lights, 2019), which received the 2020 PEN Open Book Award, and The Desert (The Song Cave, 2018). He works in a library and lives in Tucson, Arizona.

By This Poet

2

The Desert

Why don’t more animals pass through here? Dale asked
There were none
But sounds
shifting in thick oil
behind the cement wall
that kept precisely those animals out

the moon was rising
a bruise was rakish on the moon’s right brain
A coyote to the southwest on the roof of the hotel
birds, nightbirds   a dog

Why didn’t more animals pass through
The strangulation of the self
to alert the family   by way of torched skin
and a thin buoy of breathing
to one’s individuality
as a service
to extinction   personal in-fruition

Is Jupiter red? One star was the question
meeting itself in the atom-sphere

Animals were parading eating the mustards
and ants   fallen fruits

a grapefruit? I asked.
a pear, Dale said.

We were in the sly suburbs, sitting by a swimming pool
The lack of animals was the consequence
of enforcement   the prospectus of looking
at oneself   and seeing an end the end
when the ark has been sent off
depleted in the mirage of heat
curling the horizon
to the contemplation of the human
on the shore

the contemplation is impatient
Why stammer   animals are on the roof
in the trees   the wall that starts at the ground
fences, applications,
hedgerows, motion lights
gates, kitchen windows,

animals are abundant
Why don’t more humans pass through here?

All Souls Procession

A cop almost fell off 
his motorcycle. 

He was 
amid the colorful   floral skeletal 
commemorations of life, 
entertaining the children 
waiting for the procession to come down 
Bonita

He swerved his vehicle, 
almost tipped over. 

everywhere   clowns, 
evil horse energy 
in the pits of their eyes,   dark stele in the alcoves 
of their hearts,

children,   souls 
in a vault

oversaturating the memorial
antisepsis.

If he had fallen
would the children have gotten up? 

Who would have been the first 
to help?

the police 
the perverts of death.