She stands motionless in the bright light of dark
Time it is to go to bed.
We measure the distance between us in acres;
the emotional breadth between us in acres times four.
She has a litany of angers:
A band for each instance of intolerance.
The Asperger child grows outside of me,
the sociopath, the irritant, the sociologist.
Give me a gun, I say. Give me a gun, I say. Give me a gun, I say.
There is never a gun,
never a pathway,
never a marketplace with fresh fruit pleasantly harvested.
you make the decision to die
but you do not
the breath of fresh air dawn wakening you,
a few laps around the track nearby,
salt water and the texture of shade and light
you wish the world solid gray,
not black and white
the rocks around you conglomerates
not a char of coal and granite
and day changes to evening,
evening to moonlight
dying is not a competitive sport
Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Cafe Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetrysuperhighway.com and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside and Other Poems (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2012). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011). Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago's inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators, designs websites and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.