Poetry by Barbara Swift Brauer

 

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Changing Forecast

 

Look how the sun has emerged, despite
expectations and the wringing of hands.
A new warmth rises on the April wind.

I am here again at the old crossroads: action
at odds with intention. Accomplishment sacrificed
to the short-term pleasure of just being here.

Is it so wrong to stop and reevaluate
the day’s agenda? If they will pay
for the same work tomorrow, why hurry

past this hour when it all begins to make sense?
You and me, this unlikely house. Look,
the weeds have turned into forget-me-nots,

and we didn’t kill the lemon after all.
Come, sit beside me and listen: I swear you can hear
the Bermuda grass growing, oak shadows deepening,

this old planet spinning on a new axis.

 

(from At Ease in the Borrowed World, Sixteen Rivers Press, copyright © 2013 Barbara Swift Brauer)

 

Sisyphus visits the quarry

 

steps carefully among the slabs
of moss-green serpentine
black and silver flecked granite
the hulks of marble blocks
with their muted sea-swirl tones.

It will be for a such a long time
it must be of his choice.

In the corner of his eye he sees
that one boulder almost man size
He runs a hand down the surface,
feels its cold strength,
flexes his fingers, flattens
both palms against its raw face,
finds the balance point
and heaves.

 

(from Marin Poetry Centern Anthology 2014, copyright © 2014 Barbara Swift Brauer)


Writing Lesson

 

How light shines through the float
of a jellyfish she can only imagine,
or the texture of a starfish, how kelp
sways to the rhythm of the tide
in the warm blue shallows.

Write what you know.

So she writes catalogs of failure:
of closed doors, angry dinners, and dishes
shattered on the floor,
empty bottles and hallways.

Of the old woman
too tired to rouse, too broken
to bring out to the garden.
Bedpans and heating pads.

Today her story begins in a cold kitchen.
The young woman opens the oven door
and, in the spreading warmth, closes
her eyes and steps into the small waves
on the ocean’s edge.

The sun on her pale face, and only
the sound of the surf calling her name.

 

(from At Ease in the Borrowed World, Sixteen Rivers Press, copyright © 2013 Barbara Swift Brauer)

 

 

 

 

 

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