Michael H. Brownstein’s latest volumes of poetry, A Slipknot to Somewhere Else (2018) and How Do We Create Love (2019) were both published by Cholla Needles Press. In addition, he has appeared in Last Stanza, Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, and elsewhere.
Cutting Grass with my Son.
My son, no longer a boy, tall and taller
Leans into the lawn mower on the hill,
The last quarter acre of land, the grass
Tall too, lanky like him, allows itself
To shapeshift, the first days of September,
The sun on fire, the air on fire, I am melting,
My hair loose over my face like a wet mop,
My shirt discolored with everything pouring
From me, but there is shade and somehow
A light breeze. My son is as composed as can be,
Pushing the mower up the hill for another pass.
When he is done, he asks what’s next.
The silk trees, I point, growing everywhere.
And the vinko vines leaching into tree trunks
We wish to keep healthy. There’s a strand
Of poison ivy. The evergreen needs a trim.
So we work and the weight of the work
Grows heavy within me, but he is not wet,
His hands are not dirty, and yet the silk trees
Fall, the vinko vines disrupted at their roots,
The poison ivy cut at its source. Next?
He asks, but I need a break, our gallon jugs
Humid in the heat, and I am hungry, too,
So we enter the house where his baby girl
Leans into her mother, already knowing strength,
And my son who is no longer a boy
Lifts his child carefully in his large hands,
Kisses her gently on the forehead once, twice, twice more.
We have to do more, he tells her. When we finish,
We’ll take a walk downtown, visit the library,
And maybe get a bite to eat. What do you think?
And he kisses her again, on the top of her head,
Rubs his hand through the soft silk of her hair,
His strong hands containing all of her, his baby girl
Making baby sounds, and my son, blue skies happy.
Michael H. Brownstein’s latest volumes of poetry, A Slipknot to Somewhere Else (2018) and How Do We Create Love (2019) were both published by Cholla Needles Press. In addition, he has appeared in Last Stanza, Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetrysuperhighway.com and others. He has nine poetry chapbooks including A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100 Degrees Outside and Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).
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