The Night You Were Born

The night you were born
the lights went out in New York City.

The sugar beets sweetened in the field.
A mountain lion found its feet.

A poet wrote, "The moon kissed the rafters."
And then, "The weather of life turned."

And in Los Tuxtlas, a fig shook loose,
bigger than a Japanese pear.


Brother, at the helm of our lives
I imagine us a split egg.

Split now for miles,
fraternal years, fraternal lives


under the weight
of the dirty gene

and the clean one.

Brother, we are nook and cranny.

You of the great bank heist,
of the skate, slip and

Me of the bank,
storing memories
of wife
and children like tithes.

Me of the sacrament,
Me the rock.
On the ball.

From opposite ends of the field
I imagine us two generals.

Armies of cells, attending
wounds, attending knives


and virile enough
to sever an umbilical cord

once, twice.


A Poet Rides Out

These are the moon's hours, the hours
of teeth, winking

and of the mist on the lake, where two halves
of a paper cup
bob like a split apple.

Funny little cup: as if it once held
the wealth
of all this water and burst,

a pocket too heavy with one, five, ten,
twenty-five cent pieces
that finally ripped from itself,
made the world rich.

The flying buoys were loosed too,
a woman's baubles,
and the fishes were loosed.

Loosed, the tears of a man
in the window
of a high rise on Lakeshore Dr.,
behind him, a crooked Matisse:
La Leçon de Musique.

Out riding, I go out riding
offering my own
funny cup, saying, "Fill me, fill me, fill me up."
I sing to the echo in the harbor.

Here is my grandmother, and here,
my mother's father.

Here is a nightmare, nibbling
at my palm.

On Lakeshore Dr., the man
turns from his Pleyel
and puts out the light.

It was a goodnight,
Mr. Matisse, a goodnight.




If We Could Break the Flesh Honorably (mp3)




"Something like the edge of a season, fault-line, shoreline—Bronmin Shumway's poems navigate that contour between the self and other, the interior and world, revelation and mystery. Hers is a sharp poetry, a language of grace and clarity."

Robert Fanning, Author of American Prophet


| Literary Work | Writing Services | News | About | Contact

2010 © Bronmin Shumway. All Rights Reserved.