Two Poems by Michelle Brooks

Emergence by Emerson Little

Household Poisons

The afternoons are the worst,

the brightness not fading fast

enough when you have gone

nowhere and seen no one. You

when the past threatens to break

linger in the valley of dry bones

your heart. You scroll the channels

on Sirius, certain there’s something

better than the Grateful Dead station

that has been playing for weeks,

but no matter how many songs you hear,

you always end up back with the Dead.

The Night Market of Ghosts

The ground moves with snakes,

and the sky bleeds red streaks,

as if the night couldn’t leave

without a fight, and all your dreams

are tragedies where no one dies,

but everyone suffers. In your past

life when you woke up hungover, you’d

think, Anything is better than this.

You were a confection, a little

dead around the eyes, the kind

of woman people describe as

pretty in a hard way. And you

refuse to go gently into that good

night. And let’s face it. Not all

of them were good ones. You don’t

care. There is nothing you can do

about it now. Gather the pieces

as best you can even if they cut you.


Michelle Brooks has published her work in Alaska Quarterly Review, Gargoyle, Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. Her latest collections of poetry, Pretty in A Hard Way (Finishing Line Press) and The Pretend Life (Atmosphere Press) were published in 2019. She has published a novella titled Dead Girl, Live Boy with Storylandia Press. A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in the city of Detroit.

Emerson Little is pursuing a degree in Digital Media Production at Whittier College. His body of work ranges from landscape photography to graphic design and multimedia pieces. He has previously been published in Burningword Literary Journal, saltfront, and Toho Journal. He recently designed the poster for the independent film, Carlos Through the Tall Grass. Emerson’s passion for photography has led him to specialize in the strange and unusual elements of the American southwest.

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