All night the wet of spring beaded on the windowsill,
intimate as breath. The secret of time is its tenderness,
as the secret of another person’s body is its resemblance
to one’s own. How utterly foreign. All night
the unidentified birds called single notes, like sonar,
liquid & penetrating, until they broke apart
your dreams, jagged with sirens, cries, impact. Waking
& sleeping, we are filled & emptied like the heart’s
chambers, without pause, turning mouth to mouth,
tongue to tongue, turning away to shake off
the vertigo of eternity, which, though it is illusion, grips
the throat. Turning to the window’s finite framed blue,
picking a dried leaf from your cuff with a scarred finger,
you know something small, what you can hold.
Jennifer Brown studied creative writing at the University of Maryland and University of Houston. She spent several years teaching college and high-school English, living on the campus of a boarding school, and teaching creative writing in summer programs. In 2018, she won the Linda Flowers Literary Award from the NC Humanities Council; the winning essay is forthcoming in North Carolina Literary Review, Summer 2019. Her poems have appeared in New Letters, American Literary Review, Southern Poetry Review, and most recently in the Spring 2019 issue of IthacaLit. She blogs on Medium.com and at Howeverthink.com, and exists on social media as oneofthejenns.