March 21, 2022 by The Citron Review
by Brandel France de Bravo
I’ve measured out my life in dryer lint. Do I dare,
with my father’s eyes, follow a swallow in the air?
All that I can’t hold. The stutter, dip and glide of it.
All the scraping, clumping, dutiful disposing of it.
Everything transpired, gone, lives on like a mother.
Handing a morning mug to my daughter, she hovers.
Who is the hanger and who is the dress? I digress.
What I mean to say is I’ve never once seen my head
from behind. Maybe it’s a billboard where you read
my uncharitable thoughts about you, them, myself,
pinned and wriggling on the wall. I’d love to be a MILF
but who feels sexy with a tumorous growth? The bloat.
No way to know whether I’m someone’s guest or host.
It reminds me of that fable. When the dolorous donkey
carries both old man and boy, they say, “animal cruelty.”
“Call Child Protection” should the man decide to ride
while the kid walks, whining, by the donkey’s side.
“Selfish youth,” when it’s reversed, the old man
shuffling in the dirt. “Stupidity” if neither human
on the journey mounts the beast. Millenia-old
moral: try to please all and you’ll please none.
No matter my footwork, how I dodge and feint,
shame’s punch always lands. It’s the heavyweight.
The load I take off your back and put onto mine.
Brandel France de Bravo is the author of one full-length poetry collection, one chapbook, and the editor of an anthology of contemporary Mexican poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. You can read more at brandelfrancedebravo.com