Published on Academy of American Poets (

Dear Maker,

and Susannah Nevison


Under my body’s din,
             a hum that won’t quiet,
I still hear what you’ve hidden
             in all the waves of sound:
each bead of pain
             that buries its head
like a black-legged tick,
             intractable but mine
to nurse or lure with heat.
             Please, tell me
what it means that I’ve grown
             to love the steady sound
of so many kinds of caving in,
             buckling down, the way
a body gives itself away
             like a sullen bride or the runt
who couldn’t latch? I know I’m just
             a hairline crack the music
leaves behind. I love
             the music, though I can’t keep it.


Copyright © 2019 Molly McCully Brown and Susannah Nevison. Used with permission of the authors. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Winter 2019.


Molly McCully Brown

Molly McCully Brown is the author of The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, 2017), winner of the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. With Susannah Nevison, she is the coauthor of the forthcoming In the Field Between Us (Persea Books, 2020). She is the recipient of fellowships from United States Artists and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, among others. The recipient of the 2018–2019 Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, Brown currently lives abroad.

Date Published: 2019-02-01

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