White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
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



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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