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Michelle Brooks


Michelle Brooks has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small, (Backwater Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, (Storylandia Press). Her poetry collection, Flamethrower, will be published by Latte Press in 2019. A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit.

I Didn’t Mean to Scare You

A girl crawls out of the dumpster
at the Shell where I am getting
gas early Sunday morning, the heat
already like a blanket. In the bleached
denim light, I gather empty water
bottles and fast food wrappers to toss
while the girl motions to someone
who crawls out of the dumpster which
appears to contain multitudes. I curse
myself for letting the tank get to almost
empty while the numbers rise. My Russian
nesting dolls from the dumpster walk
into an alley, gone from my sight. Did
they find what they were looking for?
Does anyone? All I know is that gas prices
are rising again, making me wonder why
it costs so much to get anywhere at all.

Pretty in A Hard Way

The ground moves with snakes,
and the sky bleeds red streaks,
as if the night couldn’t leave
without a fight, and all your dreams
are tragedies where no one dies,
but everyone suffers. In your past
life when you woke up hungover, you’d
think, Anything is better than this.

You were a confection, a little
dead around the eyes, the kind
of woman people describe as
pretty in a hard way. And you
refuse to go gently into that good
night. And let’s face it. Not all
of them were good ones. You don’t
care. There is nothing you can do
about it now. Gather the pieces
as best you can even if they cut you.
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