Four poems by Hilary Brown

The Body Is Decorated with Its Occasions

A bridge or tear. A scar, a bruise, a
tattoo, a flower. A handful of yeses. Every word
you said still sitting on the end of your tongue
like stars in the firmament or electricity
on a fence. You have your own edges. You
blend yourself but you aren’t good at it.
You get tripped up by homonyms. You get
tripped up by context. There’s too much of it.



Beautiful black blossoms, hemorrhagic
(do you remember cutting pictures of black
roses from my mother’s magazines). That
sudden bloom under the skull and onto
the MRI screen, the invisible thing, the ghost
leaving its pale shadow.


The Nurses Moved the IV

each day, my hand my forearm
my elbow. A new bruise. Feed
me the ocean. Soften my dreams
with water and morphine. And
each day they injected heparin
into my belly. A new bruise.
Thin my blood. Give me water.
Give me life. Give me womb.
My legs itch with the rhythm
of air in the compression sleeves.
Give me cadence. Give me tides.


The Nurse Sewed Seeds Into the Scar

After the surgery, after the cleaning up
of all that deadly tissue, after the tests
had come back as clean as they would ever,
she threaded her patient needle and closed
my wound, instructed it to go forth,
grow more life, be of some use
to someone. She made my skull a garden.
I feel it stirring. I feel these things
that are not mine.




Hilary Brown is a queer disability activist in Oakland. Her collection, When She Woke She Was an Open Field, is available through Headmistress Press. Previous work is in The Labletter and Lift Magazine.



(Front page image courtesy of the author)

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