Upon Seeing My Tumor on an X-Ray

Kristene Kaye Brown


Trout swim downstream. 

+++++It’s easier this way. 

A grey flag of bodies gliding beneath oceans 

of sky, rainbow breasted—

all gill and open mouths. 

They move toward the Missouri River, 

toward the industrial barges, 

+++++the moss-slick pillars

dirty in the flab of empty beer cans 

and spare tires. A light rain dimples the calm.

The private faith of a damn 

holding nothing

back. Under the water a distorted light- 

pole, like a falling cross, somehow appears 

taller and crueler

+++++from this angle. 

I wish you could hear 

how the grain bins shush the wind. All day 

the fields accept what they’re given, 

each pity-trenched row of wheat


in its wilted gold. The dud 

of a lottery ticket 

stuck in the brown spiraling arms of an eddy, 

a mini milky-way

of mud. All day I walk around 

feeling like I am dying 

at the same rate as everyone else.


how these small clumps of life gather,

how they forge into one teething mass,

a wreckage inside me. 

Return to Fall 2018 Volume 10.1




KRISTENE KAYE BROWN is a mental health social worker. She earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has previously been published, or is forthcoming, in DIAGRAM, Columbia Poetry Review, Harpur Palate, Meridian, Nashville Review, and others. Kristene lives and works in Kansas City.