Just off the highway, under seeming-
solid ground, tourists float a lighted
pool in glass-bottomed boats, sight
stocked rainbows. The billboards
call it a lost sea, and I start
to think of worlds at the edges
of our vision, begin to feel the sea
within me pulse the shore
of continents I thought were fixed
but are breaking into new form, now,
our body colliding with itself.
And within you, what new land
rises, what’s the fee to pole my way
beyond sightseeing toward a place
that, falling away, is being made?
On Seeing ‘Input’ (2004), Athens, Ohio
The flashing danger of copperheads
in this sunken concrete poem is just
a blinking light Morsing out a message
I can’t read. They say if a thing that’s close
had been a snake, it’d have bitten you,
but I’ve seen some I’d nearly stepped on,
their silent regard unfanged, and here you
are, watching, your eyes all dark spectacle.
In the face of such shimmer, who would
check to see what shape your pupils take?
It’s spring. I had forgotten
how quickly etymology leads
to kissing. Seeing the mouth
embedded in ōsculārī,
I’m moved to pronounce
with more-open lips, to want
the grammar of your tongue,
present active infinitive.
Jennifer Browne is a poet, professor, literary arts center director, and hiker from Frostburg, Maryland. Her poems have recently been accepted by Right Hand Pointing, Quarto, Trailer Park Quarterly, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and the tiny wren anthology All Poems are Ghosts.