Two Poems

by Brandi George 

Another Dream of Death: Montana Vermiculite Contamination

Now wings gather in the heavens
.    no wait                 black lungs barrage
the sky with fibrous edges
.        they flap assault          mirages

.     of vermiculite       sparks swirl
in conic gusts            the thin
.          & newly dead   wear suits or pearls
that hang from boney limbs

in Libby   Montana   from a mine
asbestos-contaminated
vermiculite        was sold nation-wide
when Grace & Company purchased

the mine they knew the risks         then hundreds
in Libby died of lung
diseases    mesothelioma
asbestosis     & now among

the dead are miners    residents
folks across the country
who couldn’t trace their cause of death
to Grace & Company

asbestos forms over the rocks
like giant spider webs
the fibrous crystals    metamorphic
are the enemy

of breath          meanwhile    my sweater hides
my nose & mouth     while bodies
chase their errant lungs like kites
two women crash    then seize

me by the ponytail        I shout
but the women’s lung-less
mouths & mouth-less lungs are silent
.    their lips flex like a fish’s

 

 Born Again in the Light of the Self, Which Is Death

Death is made of cords        umbilical
but wishing to be more than emptiness

to be the foxes drinking from a puddle
our grief amalgamates inside the darkness

Death commands the firefly billions
to spark           & everything is made of stars

& stars in everything    the dandelions
are burning hills & burning meadows    yards

some nights Death can’t breathe & panicked    huffs
into a chiffon dress or fallow field

& once Death crouched inside a bluff
then hid Herself inside Achilles’s shield

Death recalls a girl who was crushed by horses
how She swept her through the valley         limitless

*

Alone on the swing set
my lover went away
my clover turned to clay

my plover-heart cawed May
when Death wintered my body
with Her boney thumb

now I can only see one color at a time
lightning chains
sky blue mirror puddle

dark blue salvia twilight
red berry robin
orange dead leaf maple

gold sun hornet
white cloud glare

spring green new shoots

dark green pine grass
last flesh tone mine
each color is a nest I pray to

in the garden behind our house
hornets sting until
I’m a barbed & yellow god

Mycelium Empress of
Harmonious Darkness
freeze me over

*

Alone one night her body crashes brown
hair sandy her beach a grave’s unmarked

vault pills     swallows mother when
marlin songs cradle   polyphonic

whales gather           clouds storm jet
cracking sky livid the dinosaurs’

cumulus hooks red becomes Death
becomes red hooks    cumulous

dinosaurs the livid sky cracking
jet storm clouds gather whales’

polyphonic cradle songs    marlin
when mother swallows pills    vault

unmarked graves    a beach her sandy hair
brown crashes    body her night    one alone

*

On a park bench
at the end of time

I find my spores in Death’s fairy ring
purple breathing from gills

a Blue-Foot Psilocybe
.          Galerina of Death

why do I love Mycelium of Night?
Her stars are ever born or burning out

in the cemetery after sunset
.          I stand polymorphous with the cap of truth

around my stalks
the basidia of righteousness
the volva of faith
scales of peace
convex inrolled & velvety

my armor orange spotted emerald

after the wildflowers have gone
mushrooms usher the dead
into red sparks from shadow

*

After I climb out the window & leave
my mother’s house forever

.                              polyphonic riddle-
shocked    distorted

a sound wave
stripped of grace      I wander
.                                         through the forest

pine constellation   water orchard      sun bough
.            dear Death    take my body for your own

I want to become something else    because
the doll thing that I am
.           porcelain prey   virgin petal
.                      pearl baby  is dead

Because                damsel corpse
princess bait                 is dead