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

At the Crossroads of the Dying World by Michelle Brooks

There’s a mall cop perched atop

a Segway, riding an escalator,

and I marvel at this strange sight

near the food court. Fluorescent

lights onto shuttered stores dotted

with anchors that have been here

since I was a child. I drift to the playground

where exhausted parents stare at their cell

phones or into the distance while their

children scream and jump and cry

on plastic toys designed to look like animals.


I watch the scene, wishing I could stop time

and its relentless march over us all, wishing

I could close my eyes and will the B. Daltons

back into existence. So many things used

to be something else. I look at a jewelry

repair shop which used to be a novelty store

that sold small trees coated with gold. I’d always

wanted one. The mall cop rides past me, back

to the escalator, and I see my entire life cascade,

like the motorized stairs in their endless loop.

The trees with golden leaves that had once

beckoned me with their promises

of glamour, such as it was, are still gone.

Michelle Brooks has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small (Backwaters Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy (Storylandia Press). A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit. She has just completed a book of essays titled Second Day Reported.

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