Pacific Northwest Gothic
Wires coil within the muddy deep.
upon the ground. Midday dark
becomes bloody murk at dusk,
the hush of streets swallowed whole.
In the kitchen with the red drapes,
she binges cake in the dark.
Mother howls upstairs, upset
by the low & bellow
of the train.
Beaks flicker in the rail yards,
soon to roost by the cold slaps
of the Columbia.
A rose torn from the ground
rushes downstream in the dark—
from my window I hear
Night erupts into feasts & fireflies
& convivial ankles. Electric wheels burst
behind the waterfall—
the year crests down,
a fierce swan about to strike.
Moths thump upon a shuttered pane.
Gulls & sandpipers mourn upon the harbor.
The skies morph into bleared chalkboards—
bang the erasers together & watch the dust rise,
snow bubbling in November’s tumult.
Douglas firs sprawl in the ochre light & howl.
the city flutters off the earth,
a gleaming kite into the void.
Noise bites my spine, taking hold.
the radiant umbrella
sweeps overhead & closes. My skin
falls away, clumps of wet sand. I erode
running through the noise—
the decaying storefront evokes the suburbs I recall the pangs of spring magnolia trees still erupt in fleshy blooms purple wounds among long & spiky bones the greening of the year passes into the clouds skeletons rumble in a drawer with feathers & a honeycomb ghost until I throw it all away dust of marrow & pine sap eggshells years unspool widening the gap between us bicycle tracks snake through cement like casts of fossilized vertebrae gathering raindrops into mirrors for drowning swallows bound gagging they fade too the drums & the cages there was once a field on the way home where a barn rotted & rotted until the spine gave way & the roof fell—no I don’t have a photograph
City street. The ocean bubbles through
a fissure in the tar. No one notices.
A woman leaps from a taxi—
a scribbled sheet, crumpled, falls from her lap
to the olive sea,
unfolding. On the corner
a hypnotic anesthetist grins over fistfuls of balloons.
Nine minutes later a paper child
climbs from the sea, up
through the road
& catches a trouser leg
to the taxi.
Amee Nassrene Broumand is an Iranian-American poet from the Pacific Northwest. Nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, her work has appeared in FIVE: 2:ONE, Sundog Lit, A-Minor Magazine, Empty Mirror, Menacing Hedge, Barren Magazine, Word Riot, & elsewhere. She served as the March 2018 Guest Editor for Burning House Press. Find her on Twitter @AmeeBroumand.
Photo: José Martín Ramírez C