Blog Post / Fall 2016 / Poetry / Poetry 2016 / Volume 47

Free For All–Dustin Brown


A first kiss,
on a fouton
smudged blue by broken pens.

A night I’ve craved for fortnights is lengthened
by carbon dioxide held
against its will,

only to moisten foreign lips.
During Ravel’s left-handed concerto
I hold her hand

meditatively, mindfully aware,
and each pulse brokers torrents
of a resolution, of the distant ticks

of a clock paused by unseen fermatas.
Across the room, a light
flickering blue

flashes with each measure.
Music dances, speaks
a new language, so new

it can’t live without this,
without this piece of me given away.
My eyes are hers.

Self-partition is an art.


I sold a kidney for $100
but it’s okay, I have a spare.

I lent both middle
fingers to a friend
who ended up moving out of state
before I could get them back.

I had violet, cosmic
eyes that stole the flash from cameras.
I gifted my irises to an ex
on our two-year anniversary,
placed them in sterile saline
puddled in a contact lens case.
When we broke up, she returned them
torn, unusable.

Just last week I gave away
my right leg, an ear, and
a couple organs because I
don’t know why, because I did.
Except now I can’t wear
any of my clothes,
and my cat hisses at me.


On a run
through the park,
there’s a couple feeding
white ducks, clouds
buoyed on liquid crystal.
Behind me
the creaking branch of a
sequoia scrapes holes
into the sky. The couple
tosses crumbs into the water.
The ducks glide like fog
to them, eat the bread
efficiently, don’t even look
at the lovers standing by. But they throw
more. They throw the whole loaf
one pinched-off piece at a time until
it’s gone, empty wrapper crinkling in his hands.
The ducks nose the water some moments more, they
lift bills to these beautiful humans, and then the ducks leave
and the woman gathers her purse, and the man pockets the garbage
and now everyone in this park can gratefully get back to their house or flat or nest
or whatever.
I stand watching
that patch of pond until the sun
sets the surface on fire.

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