“Summer’s End” © Bonnie Mattews Brock



Who’s human? I don’t see these people’s breathing,
have a sense of their dampness, quick pulses.
When I think about my Big Bad, that’s what it’s about.
How a knock on the door sends me scowling.

I can’t make a person. That’s what it seems like.
A cyst’s what it sounds like, and the phone nurse’s
guess is it sends pus up the tubes. No babies.

Who deserves people? Maybe not me, who don’t
take note of the darting eye, or piece together
the careful hair-combing of some dad at the door.

I say, she’s a hoarder. Can’t jettison what might
be useful, it’s clothes, it’s drips of wax, it’s habits,
it’s church buildings. I saw the future in her, now
I only see clinging, I look at it rank.

Who’s a hoarder? I pick green scabs off my knees.
I claw on my bug bites, stare at the seared countries
on my wrist, schmaltz-burnt. I say how I got the scar
on my forehead—I’ll tell you, too.

I did it stupidly, racing the microwave,
bowl bubbling oatmeal over. The tub rang
like a gong, my blood bloomed
in the basin.

Who’s in the past? My murmured liturgy,
it’s wordless. It has to do with beehives,
soft rustling. Wish I could see them, wish
I could brush past them in a wide skirt.

I take it baby, new-bloomed. I’m now, now.
I’m just in denim. I don’t open the dictionary.
The eye of the leaf is on me. I do it mutely,
bare-handed. Little body, living, blood-run.


Emily Brown is a poet and songwriter from Southern California. She grew up Mormon, served a religious mission in Siberia, and earned her BA in English Literature from Brigham Young University. Later she earned her MFA from Mills College, where she was a poetry editor for 580 Split. Her most recent album, a Fish of Earth, was released on Song Club Records in 2020.

Bonnie Matthews Brock is a Florida-based photographer, as well as school psychologist. She enjoys capturing raw single-capture photos of a wide variety of subjects, and learning and experimenting with shooting techniques such as long-exposure and intentional camera movement, as well as with editing methods. You can find Bonnie’s images on the covers of publications such as Ibbetson Street, Poesy Magazine, and Wild Roof Journal, and on the pages of Oddball Magazine, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Ember Chasm Review, Beaver Magazine, and Unstamatic. Her works are archived at institutions such as Poets House NYC, Brown University, University of Buffalo, and Harvard University.