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
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.
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.