Poetry by Devika Brandt

Read More: A brief interview with Devika Brandt


Sap on the kitchen floor,
steel wool,
vinegar. I’m scraping

when fire’s fast train
wrecks the sky
so I pack a bag of clothes,

some cash, eyeglasses, 100
thousand acres

can’t move quick enough can’t
rolling bundles of smoke

turn sky a dying
marigold then curl under
doorjambs. My brother

stuck, highway closed, why
I buy a ladder? High winds,

dry grass, ashes, ashes


If a Bear

If a bear sniffed you as you lay in your tent
under darkness of no moon,
and if it didn’t wake you but only
entered your sleep-life as a camouflaged
shape, might you wander differently?
Would your limbs carry essence
of mud and stream, flat stones under your feet,
stillness? Would scent of apples
ripening in the orchard at Hamilton Barn,
the meaty pungence of the dumpster
send your legs roaming? And if,
in that same night, you passed groupings
of creatures wrapped two by two
in feathers and canvas, some smelling
of peppermint and some of sex,
would you draw in closer, your tongue making
wet sounds against your teeth? And would you
be tempted to flip one rolled tidbit,
bite through the feathered covering, lick off
the scent from its slick and furless skin?

How would you satisfy your hungers?

after Stephen Dunn

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Devika Brandt’s work has appeared in Poetry International, Nimrod International Journal, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, The South Carolina Review, and Rattle as well as named a finalist for the Rattle Poetry Prize and a semi-finalist for The Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize. Her work has been recently published in B O D Y and Main Street Rag. She lives, writes, and teaches poetry to children in Northern California.

Read More: A brief interview with Devika Brandt