Two Poems by Brandi Nicole Martin


Found in Willow Springs 78

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Todd on the front porch. Todd

in the side yard of ecstasy and earth.

Todd walking our beagle-named Ray.

Todd in new boots, in patches of grass

in a waltz of fog on the same path that tornado

tore beside our one bedroom house, house

of broken blinds, of doors that won't latch,

roof made of tin-tornado from when

Halloween night fell from the sky

in South Mississippi and left us

reeling hymns in the bathtub till morning,

mildew, mattress, iron and rust.

Todd in the long, undefiled light of morning

blue slippers which didn't fit,

which he gifted to me, and our 70 dollar ceramic heater­

which was carefully researched for efficiency

to avoid tempting dust motes from the air.

Todd on the couch we bought from Goodwill.

Todd reading Yahoo for football news.

Todd pissed off about a fumble,

chugging 8 Coors the night before

before chucking a half empty can

at a speaker by the big screen.

The elegiac curve of Todd's lips in steam.

Todd singing Elvis in the shower. The kitten licking

Todd's knees, beads of water and soap, knees

which to this day won’t heal right.

Todd's father who used to have a temper,

who lashed out in a game of Monopoly

in a childlike rage in a rickety house in Georgia

where Todd asked if we could live together.

Todd in a horse-drawn carriage, Todd

in a haunted square in Savannah

where Spanish moss won't grow anymore,

where the bodies of infants were burned

and their mothers wept and my own mother

thinks our marriage might never happen.

Todd's shoulders slackening while he reads

Faulkner by the window, surrounded

by his animals, his fingers tapping the sill.

The skill of Todd's hands. What they ask of my body.

Todd waiting while I grind the coffee,

Todd claiming I never do the dishes,

wishing I'd be more social, less negative,

Todd spreading apple butter over

every cracker in my life, coddling me

for each bruise I acquire, lifting my wrists,

and turning them toward the light.





not charred alive some holiday night,

not stuck in the car while flames reached


the peak of the pine trees. Todd

saw it first, but we might've passed


the fire by. Todd loves his mother,

told her all about my mother,


her turkey and gravy, all things

beautifully dull. Todd didn't want


to be the guy who didn't pull over.

Todd ran through the reeds--


Brandi Nicole, wait far me--to help

other men drag bodies from the pyre,


that mass of melted tire and metal.

I waited years ago-my own body


singed in a ditch, wet grass, smell

of my leg, my contused brain,


collapsing over and over until

the ambulance came, and I still don't know


what I didn't know then-why men run,

how one girl can plunge through glass


while another's left to burn.

In school, we measured our words,


each syllable a chorus of force and lyric.

That single beat, the weight of Todd's name


I stress even now. They never got all three

people out. We later made it home,


and I tell you, there will always be patterns,

rhythm, some strong motion


at the edge of this world. I will always

smell smoke in the air. Todd, forever


sleeping next to me. Thorns from the side

of the highway still caught in our jeans.


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