by Russell Brakefield
There is too much shifting
light to take in
at once. A blush mounts
the ridge and just as soon
is taken back by the Russian sage
which echoes a showy, branched panicle
on the sky. A silence so big
nestles among us,
the fire—with it's own impossible color—
is left alone to click and sputter.
And later, when someone shows us
the aerial photographs
we become our own shifting
patchwork: red shirt, black shirt,
brown dog, straw hat.
Seeing the body from above,
as a single tone in a larger song, excises
a small part of the self, dismantles
slightly the process of living.
The way my father once said that
as a younger man he knew the story
behind every blemish on his body.
In the photographs, the fire ring
is its own red smudge,
and we all peer into it wildly
as though we might step in
and be swallowed
by the gorgeous, rotting earth.
Russell Brakefield’s first collection Field Recordings is forthcoming from Wayne State University Press in March of 2018. He received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program. His most recent work appears or is forthcoming in Bomb, The Southeast Review, Coldfront, The Literary Review,and elsewhere.