We sat in the long, rectangular room
with the long, rectangular table topped
with faux marble. Outside the eighth-floor window,
we could see the frozen, snow-covered lake.
The serious young lawyer wrote my responses
in little scribbles to inscribe my will.
I watched words and numbers gather in display
on his snowy-white pages, my life seemingly
reduced to something small and slight.
I went home feeling diminished, home to a night’s
restless sleep. Of course, March will return
to raise the golden crocuses with their rich
inner lives. And if indeed I have few assets
in the companies of commerce
and the company of others,
why should I let that freeze my will?
Copyright 2020 by Brian Dean Powers
Published in the Winter/Spring 2021 issue of Bramble
Photo by the author
August already: time to see summer
before it sinks. Beneath bountiful branches
I stand and watch the sunlight soak
through green and breathing leaves. All
around, like fog in the trees, alarm clocks
ring beneath male cicada wings. And look:
a current of slick, black ants flows
down the dark drive. Sometimes
I stop to hear the waterfall gushing
from my window fan, and sometimes
I want to pour it all into words,
lingering to love what can’t be kept.
Copyright 2000 by Brian Dean Powers
Published in 2002 by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets
Photo by the author
The artist returned to the Yellow House in Arles
after painting all day in the fields. Nature
stuck to him like a burr as he walked into his bedroom.
Pale-blue sky seeped into his walls, and the outstretched
wings of crows slipped into the window’s
dark sash-bars. Sunflowers settled
into the center-woven seats of the ocher chairs,
blossoming over the worn path of earth-hued floorboards.
A field of poppies managed to inhabit his red blanket,
but not even nature could make the room contain
the artist’s seismic swirls of moon and stars.
Copyright 2016 by Brian Dean Powers Published in the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of Word Fountain Public Domain photo at commons.wikimedia.org
the green fingers
of the first crocuses
begin to pierce
the cold soil,
as if reaching
toward the matted hair
of last year’s grass.
and gusty afternoon
in winter’s last days
the thin cataract of ice
left on the surface
of the lake.
on the branch-end,
as April nears,
is the spirit
of my body, too—
longing to shed
its confining glove,
to feel the sun’s breath
across my veins.
Copyright 1997 by Brian Dean Powers Published in 1999 by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Photo by Tommaso Urli at unsplash.com
“Where did we put those champagne glasses?” Sean asked from the kitchen.
“Try the cupboard above the fridge,” Brawnie replied from the living room couch, where he was sprawled out watching the ten o’clock news.
The eve of the new year had begun with a strange winter rain, that late in the day became sleet, then showers of snow. The sky seemed a gray fleece blanket above flakes weightless in white spacesuits floating slowly down in calm air. The roads and walks were so dangerously iced many wisely decided to stay safely indoors.
The midnight toasts were possibly a bit tipsy.
“No more Christmas until next August!”
“Huck the folidays!”
“May you let your chest hair grow out, muscle boy.”
“And may you chuck your pile of old running shoes.”
Several hours after midnight, Sean and Brawnie were asleep together on the couch, covered by their faded Packers blanket. The room was dark, except for the Twilight Zone marathon on television. An empty bottle of Prosecco and two fancy glasses stood sentry on the coffee table before them.
Outside, galaxies of starflakes gathered under streetlamps on a cold, arbitrarily named night that was beautiful to behold.
Copyright 2019 by Brian Dean Powers Photo by Catherine Zaidova at unsplash.com
August ends, humid and hot
but that's not stopping you from hauling
yourself up hill after hill. Off-road,
across the grassy flat of a football field,
you stride with light, silent steps —
though your pace in this heat
is more jog than dash.
The run grows in its slow
and winding way, flourishing at last
on the path to Picnic Point. The trodden
ground is dappled, sunlight blazing radiant trails
through the leaves overhead. The breeze
sprays you with the fragrance of apples,
strokes your sweat-slicked skin.
You dodge and dart over tree roots
and rocks, breathing easy, immersed
in the spread of an incandescent day.
Sunlight runs among the treetops on photon feet.
Copyright 2004 by Brian Dean Powers Published in Echolocations: Poets Map Madison by Cowfeather Press, and in 2006 by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. During 2014, the poem was displayed in the Reflections: Madison photography and poetry exhibit at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. Public Domain photo at commons.wikimedia.org
I’m running the lakeside path again,
past the last shards of March
melting along the shore. This body
built on bone strides silently,
as light as the breath on my lips.
An hour in, quads and calves propel
themselves, knees keep leading me forward
and time becomes a seamless stream.
Doesn’t matter that I will never be
much of an athlete, that I will
never run fast or win a race.
This body is a quiet current
of muscle and pulsing blood.
I am altogether alive in glistening skin.
Copyright 2003 by Brian Dean Powers
Published in 2005 by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets
Photo by Gabriel Santiago at unsplash.com
The crocus leaps
into its life
as soon as the March
Nothing you can say
about cold nights
and Spring snows
will stop it.
Before the lake ice
cracks, before you
put away your gloves
and shovel, its
and purple petals
in the chill air.
—No, this plant
won't waste a moment
to grab at its chance.
Copyright 2010 by Brian Dean Powers Published in 2014 by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Photo by Biegun Wschodni at unsplash.com