A collection of poetry and visual art by Brianna G. Reed
An Erasure Poem
After Heather Cahoon
His as yours is a paper wing
amid catch and release:
You know his origami heart
quietly unfurling in fields
made paper burn
from pinecones to thistle
his white whaled wings finning
his knife-edged neck cranes
skyward taking haphazard flight
from whispering reeds before turning
reciprocal retinas reveal
his as yours is a paper wing
un folding seemingly suspended
amid catch and release.
Paper Bombs, Paper Bridges
A blank page can play an important role; it can be a bridge. -Arthur Sze
The weekend has seen us all unfurl
into blank pages crumpling
one after another, catching flame mid-air,
a deck of cards catching matchstick flames.
Look outside I can prove it
snow-ash has cloaked a grey summer
as the emergence of spring,
chokes on amber cloud-edges.
My blank pages ache to overflow beyond my margins
to bleed black into blue to fill
whole journals when I am stumbling stupefied on apostrophes
& period pauses
smoldering in the furnace of my belly.
I’ll cut her right in her face she screams on paper / screens of paper fights like I am / a paper girl in a paper house / burning within long silences / lengthening like blankpage pauses lingering / a bursting dam that could extinguish / their wild mouth-fires / that I could never burn / their paper houses down / I could build them / when I have always wanted my words to flow like water from faucets never knowing I could / one day run out, despite desperate twisting wrists / to siphon my rivers
Blank pages can be a bridge I want to answer, taking aim, firing high.
They can be embers sparking perfectly in a touch of drought,
caressing desert underbrush in howling winds
giving rise to smokeblooms to mouths holding paper bombs.
Break into my nervous system
soften sickle-sweet syringes
half-surgeon | half-witness.
Become morphine dripping
silicone slivered-tubes on skin
pour yourself in.
Pry nightfall from fingertips
like gauze-flowers unsticking
will it hurt?
I want to ask yet can’t
before slipping away
tracheal trauma trembles
remembering how once, we were
how, now, the wind stings
sharp as solvent,
Brianna G Reed is the Diné author of various short stories and essays that have appeared within Leonardo and the Tribal College Journal. Raised in Hope Mills, North Carolina, she now studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts. You can listen to her current column, "Moccasin Millennial," serialized in podcasts at tribalcollegejournal.org.