BROWN HOUSE AUBADE
Here, my work was tenderness. The pulse of
dark beans to loam. Heavy carafe, heap and spit.
My work: a queue of cups on her windowsill.
If she wouldn’t drink, fine. I left them to cool.
Here was my mother dying, her bed a boat on
her breath. I thought I might reanimate her. I
knew vaguely of her vertebrae: a herniation:
fentanyl patches: a gun in a bag and a box of
bullets. It was beside the point. I believed the
brown house would kill her. She slept for days
without intermission, without memory of me.
Did I ever see her face that year? Not in the
stories I tell myself. In dreams, I go back inside,
but I cannot find her. Her door is locked. There
is only a girlchild whispering to the dog. She
pauses, sensing me, but she never turns to look.
Shannon Sankey is the author of We Ran Rapturous (The Atlas Review, forthcoming 2019). Her poems have appeared at Poets.org, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, the minnesota review, Puerto del Sol, Sugar House Review, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a 2017 Academy of American Poets Prize and a 2019 SAFTA residency. She holds an MFA from Chatham University, where she was the Whitford Fellow. She is the founder of Stranded Oak Press. www.shannonsankey.com / @shansankey
Natalie Giarratano is the author of Big Thicket Blues (Sundress Publications, 2017) and Leaving Clean, winner of the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry (Briery Creek Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Beltway Poetry, Tupelo Quarterly, Tinderbox, and American Literary Review, among others. She edits and lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her partner and daughter and is the city’s poet laureate.