SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Fellow Travelers by Jenny Browne

1. Apache Plume

 

The road is a drone note,

 

            also known as a burden.

 

I traveled but a short distance,

 

            late and thirsty, repeating

 

hold yourself empty,

 

            hold yourself full.

 

 

2. Desert Sumac

 

Sun rising

like an elegant

tranquilizer,

 

considering

the hockey

stick curve

 

of carbon

emissions,

considering

 

the hundred

year flood

again this one,

 

considering

I turn red

when crushed.

 

 

3. Creosote

 

That under-employed boyfriend

 

you could smell approaching

 

all summer, strumming his guitar

 

played only one song: 

 

            I know you rider

 

 

& we play it again

 

for the ringtail, the rattler

 

the javelinas, even

 

a magnificant hummingbird:

 

            gonna miss me when I’m gone.

 

 

4. Ocotillo

 

I keep thinking of the salt flats

& the great Neruda poem that says

I want no truck with death.

Once I asked a man what word

he would have chosen instead,

but he sped on toward Carlsbad.

Did you know truck comes from

the old French for barter?

I wonder how a translator chooses

between bear hug & strangle?

I didn’t say let’s make a deal.

Nights I still dream of the ocean,

waves big enough to drown

the engine that makes them. 

The exposed shoulders of the reef

grow colder with the past. Something

told me if I waited long enough

I could have that back too.


Jenny Browne lives in San Antonio, Texas, and teaches at Trinity University. Her most recent collection is Dear Stranger. New work has been published, or is forthcoming, in Love's Executive Order, Harvard Review, and Oxford American

Hospitality by Sarah McCann

Sunshowers by Christell Victoria Roach