Brenda Taulbee



I am like a chair, or a dog, or
the word home,

you the feathered tip of a wing, and the wing;
you, the flight and the falling.

Whatever I find I will lose
and what this means is I will not regret

the casual alchemy of gin
tumbled over your mint-muddled tongue.


Love, you may find me
under the salty spittle of waves, or

tucked into soil’s swaddle
and the blind fingers of earthworms.

But know we will be close again,
awed and bewildered,

tidal with desire, veined with
time and, broken, almost perfected.


As if we were newly born.
As if the exquisite machines of our bodies

had not yet become routine,
we’ll watch the day puddling outside the windows–

the unclasped hooks of night’s bodice;
the sky’s unabashed nakedness.

I beg, sweetness, be a simple thing—
the smooth green globe
of the melon’s mouth, marbled in rind,

backyard blackberries
gathered without regard for bramble’s bite,

the lime tree casting off
its dimpled darlings.

A honeyspun comb of gold
collapsing from the folds of the linden tree.

Your lungs teaching me what it means to breathe—
                the taking.
                                                            The release.



for the cockroach, wings silted with sugar,
skittering drunkenly from the pillaged spill.
How it reminds me of my father, how

his common, shambling smile swooned
over half empty pints on nights
he’d tongue a penny for good luck
before careening home in his beloved
jeep which, with rust-
washed bodice,
sleeps now in some
dusted rut,

thank you for the hack of its
engine coughing to life in the
the dizzy mist of memory,
visible most mornings through
undeveloped film of mind’s eye.
How photo paper kisses hydroquinone
to see itself more clearly.

To the pillow crushed
beneath a lover’s lulling head.

To the mug warmly drowsing
in the hand of a friend,

or the dandelion losing its mind
in the clutch of a breeze—

I want
to do with you
what locked doors
do with keys.

Teach me what it means
to open.

From Portland, Oregon by way of Montana, Brenda Taulbee has written her way through all of the south and west this continent has to offer. She is currently an MFA student at San Diego State University. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including Grist, The Inflectionist Review, and NAILED Magazine. Her debut collection of poems, The Art of Waking Up, examines the intricate, mundane, and often messy ways that human lives overlap in love and loss.

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