Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Bronwen Tate





                      AND SO THE SAME EVENT SPREADS
                      OPPOSING BRANCHES

                      Early vervaine tisane. A little bite dissolves. It’s a beginning,

                      Early expectation all potential waste. Poppy seed, blueberry,                       

                      In the dark, a sundial says nothing. Opaque, unknown to
                      myself. Tender breast, cell of patience. Tentative tenderness,
                      as cells divide.

                      Heap of hourglass sand. Mind merely prickles, pecks at.

                      I entrust my sleep to the ocean I hear out each window.


                      AN EMPTY MEASURE IN MUSIC

                      That the dead could linger. Measure to the first knuckle of
                      my littlest finger. Hand-worked guipure, light wool for a
                      shawl. My body a shroud, lost all, lost all. Flicker, spark and
                      softest fall.

                      I count the beats in stillness.

                      Slattern with cups and spoons and days, I wish for fields of
                      thorns, of waves. Carve out covetousness to leave only
                      longing. Desire without envy, eyeless blinding. Bed of tangled
                      leaves, a useless binding. Turn and leave this waste uncrossed.

                      I wait to lose you, already lost.



                      Both knowing how I wanted, even broken, what she hated to
                      throw away, we wrote daily. Fountain pen, bitter ink, tentacle
                      across this letter. Mooring cable, tell what came next.

                      Enough, she says. Let breathing be enough today. A
                      reflection, alien as if I’d placed myself in the framed vision
                      of a doe.

                      Odds against the imperfect. In comfort, every friend’s
                      mother says spared.

                      I could not say I had a daughter. I had a syndrome, missing
                      chromosomes nature mostly culls. A colleague tells me she
                      studies what for me was a sentence.

                      I had that, I answer. Lost it. Her.

                      Four weeks, opacity staved back the Norns. Morning an
                      array, a rain. One hand measures what the eddy reclaims.
                      Windfall, a gift of losing.

                      Not every godsend is a bargain. Lucky break of the last elm
                      branch. Friend, we walked the beach bleeding, spoke and
                      smiled through that red.


Photograph of Bronwen Tate by Kelly Fletcher.

Bronwen Tate teaches Creative Writing and Literature at Marlboro College, where she also directs the Clear Writing Program. She is the author of seven poetry chapbooks, and her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in venues including Denver Quarterly, Bennington Review, Typo, and the Journal of Modern Literature. More from this author →