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Emily Brandt

Mind Map

To start this is to fail immediately and yet to persist.
Steam from black tea rises as if no time has passed as if
the landscape is the landscape from which its leaves were pulled.

Each desire turns outward through suggestive movements.
Elections bring out the worst in a suggestive populace.
Everything outside is replicated within.

Upon waking I make a rough attempt to shift my weight into my hands
as if the boundaries of my species are illusion
as if by will alone I could tumble up instead of this fall.

The snow outweighs my car, accumulates height and will.
Inside, a self-made man solders over a cutting board
pulled from a landscape of strip-searched oaks.

I have been sitting on some decision for nine years
and the universe has not yet opened
so I admit that I am not the center of mythology.

Steam still parts my lips to welcome the burn of boiled water.
What wisdom is this that scorches the throat
that binds my hand to the kettle and dollar.

I shower today and then immediately clean the glass
to leave not a trace of my clean or dirty body.
The reflection of a reupholstered couch holds its shape.

In this house, only some leaves grow toward the light.
I question the source. I scour the want ads. I burn my mouth again
and again until blisters appear and I burn the blisters.

Undoubtedly I treat others the many ways the world treats me.
The news lies about the weather and most other things.
The sun slides behind some pornographic trees. They catcall.

I hang my head out the window and catch snow on my tongue.
Note the politics of this action taken by my body, its identifiers.
Note the spiritual implications. Note the good timing for my blistering mouth.

Publish these notes in the name of one who went to your nursery school
and note who is standing still in the schoolyard and note who has died, and how.
After a long time looking outside, I open my eyes to weather within.

Emily Brandt is the author of the chapbooks Sleeptalk or Not At All (2015), ManWorld (2014) and Behind Teeth (2014). Her poems have appeared in The Offing, Apogee, Sink Review, The Atlas Review, and other journals. She earned her MFA from New York University, where she facilitated the Veterans Writing Workshop, and has been the recipient of residencies from Saltonstall Arts Colony and Elsewhere. She is a co-founding editor of No, Dear, Web Acquisitions Editor for VIDA, and a contributing writer for Weird Sister. She lives and teaches in Brooklyn.


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