White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
WHITE WHALE REVIEW
Annah Browning
Annah Browning lives in Chicago, where she is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her work has most recently appeared in Nashville Review, The Superstition Review, High Chair, and The Bellingham Review. Her chapbook The Marriage is forthcoming from Horse Less Press in the fall of 2013.

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Annah Browning

Good News

 

Father of hosts, father who told

              me stories. Father in this bug

 

here, who’s settling on my knee,

              on small knee hairs, which should

 

look familiar. We’re all perched

              on a joint some days, I coo,

 

and put my finger on its stony back.

              A Braille. I am in love

 

with music. I love the music inside

              of it, that little hum—

 

it is wanting to be bursting, it is

              wanting to be out,

 

the bug wants to stand up again

              but I won’t let it. Can’t you

 

[....]


Annah Browning

tell—this is how everything sings—

              everything wants

 

to get up, everything wants

              to try to.


Annah Browning

In the Garden

 

Acorns falling down to stones.

              The evening wants

 

me. To be full in it. To know

              how to cherish

 

a name. Is that how I came

              by this dress? Days on days

 

I’ve been waiting. To see something

              come out of the earth—

 

for the stones to roll, river,

              as if parted

 

by a hand. We have been a sea

              under things and lonely—

 

Yes, that’s true, one of my hands

              says to the other. We’ve been

 

[....]


Annah Browning

so long sleeping. On breast by breast.

              I’ve been so long in the garden

 

I’m no longer awake. One stone

              turns over. I imagine

 

he wants to tell me,

              this is the hole where I was.


Annah Browning

Friend,

 

I went only a little away.

              I wanted to find you.

 

That was the word that I

              used. I pulled up all

 

the turnips, but they weren’t

              the right faces. No one is—

 

right-faced, like you. The rest

               slide behind their red hands,

 

left hands—I was enchanted

              by that story you told,

 

that half-ugliness, half-words—

              you laughed and snorted

 

into your sleeve, I laughed because

              it was the approximate thing

 

[....]


Annah Browning

to do, anyway, you’re not singing,

              anywhere, you’re not living

 

on the inside of my jacket, where

              I can whisper-talk you

 

down. I go to sleep as a fable;

              I wake up as a word.


Annah Browning

Dream of Travel

 

Long railroad tracks back,

              to the shape of a star—

 

that house, so many houses,

              their eaves, unmerciful.

 

Where I said I want to feel

              better, Mama, I want to feel

 

better. To fall better in the shadow

              of a waking bear. This tunnel

 

I’m drawn to. Come out, come out,

              whoever’s there. I want

 

to hear your voice, at night-ly.

              I want my palm to shiver

 

over the hair. A turn in the paw.

              Who put that there.

 

[....]


Annah Browning

Does the ground place. My body

              asleep in the train car.

 

My body asleep on the tracks.

              Who goes there. A bear’s

 

fur is thick, his innards are warm.

              He says, don’t get up,

 

I’ll go. And then I do.


Annah Browning

Etiquette Arts

 

It’s a stoicism I advance—

              small sleeper

 

on the chest, not knowing.

              A warm sock rolled

 

into a ball. What is acquired

              under ether. What new,

 

what a new gravity you’ve

              got, they’ll say, sinking

 

low against my shins. What new

              ways to polish the hour,

 

mend the eye which like a cake

              has been weeping. Sag

 

a little closer, flags, to me.

              There are other ways. Colors

 

[....]


Annah Browning

filling out as if with a breast,

              as if rolling up against

 

the stranger, the train,

              the supermarket face—

 

yes, I am pretending this is real.

              I am pretending

 

that it is not loosely I carry

              the key, carry my bread,

 

carry my house. My back

              swan-necking. It is true

 

when I open packages, I hear

              a new voice—saying thank

 

you, thank you. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Annah Browning. White Whale Review, issue 5.1


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