The 2River View 24.2 (Winter 2020)

A. M.  Brandt

The Way it Was

There were mostly empty barns in our vastly empty
country. There were fallow fields clear of trees

where the tractor stopped, an abandon as palpable
as bankruptcy. Before a sunset there was a nervous

white sky, arrowheads hidden just under soil.
Nowhere had there been a nothing like that.

When the rain fell there was a coming loam
that never arrived. So many seeds unbroken

of the wheat-like shaft bitten and spit out, if
it had a tongue. But there was surely want

if a woman dipped her hands in soapy water,
something boiling in a pot, there was surely  

a bed somewhere, a treasure still made new,
as if two could always make more. There was

the wide-open ahead of us, there was surely desire
when I lay back naked on the floor.

Whosoever Am I

In fields where most of the orchards are gone,
in wayward prairies wherever they are found
and in the split dark recesses

where land falls into itself, where
water seeps restlessly to its gathering.

Whosoever, but a sorrowing bone
turning sweet in the sun as if wind-fallen
from some bejeweled primal word

that tastes of sinew and packed
seed, claw and stone.

The orchard’s secret is on wing, on scat-
scattered mounds where none intrudes.
And when I say seed, I mean leeway,

that which travels, across waters, wanting
to be thrown shoreward in the wrack, I mean,

that which wrenches itself home.

A. M. Brandt holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota. Her work has appeared in journals such as Cortland Review, The National Poetry Review, The Sewanee Review, and The Southern Review. She teaches at Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia.

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