Holly Brown

When Everything is Stagnant

I gave a hot stove a high five only to invoke the ocean later. How fucking hard it is to hold onto the hot things. They are always so contagious with their offerings. I swallow balls of dough hoping loaves will grow inside me— things get so hot in there when I think about being a person: all of that screaming, all of that standing still. I wait to rise like heated yeast, wish my bones to helium until I hit the ceiling. My body like a desert, organs pop-ping from the pressure. I will only ever be an oven, never a hot air balloon. Sweating it out is less than adequate. Punch out all of my windows. Leave me out to dry with the tornados. Tie me to the roof of the car and drive us cross-country, drive us to bound-less southwest highways until there is nothing on either side of us but nothing. I want to love you like Arizona loves the Grand Canyon, your coolness river carving me until I open to the sky.

Blind Date for the Pathologically Honest

Meet me where the rising smoke looks like a rib cage. I'll be the one breathing through a straw in the corner. You'll be the one with not any red rose in your button hole. Balance a jar of ocean water on your head instead— tell me from the start it's because changing tides keep you grounded. We will not mention the abandoned milk carton in the corner. It is beyond our help and we know it. There is nothing to fill it with. Instead we will talk about what it means to be thwarted by lee-way, flip through pages of picture book plane crashes and cry over every broken wing. Ask me how I feel about spiraling out. Don't tell me the names of your siblings, rather tell me about that time your in-sides felt like driving through open spaces, belly full of endless corn-fields. Lets debate the finer points of conflict avoidance. I'll show you my affinity for peeling away my skin if you show me your love of car-rying other people on your back. Take my phone number. Don't call me in three days, call me by my name and everyday of the week until we don't remember how far we are from the beginning.


Holly Brown is getting her MFA in poetry in Akron, Ohio where she lives with her mute, toothless cat, Hedwig. Her work appears in Decomp and is forthcoming in The New Old Stock.