Winter 2012

Table of Contents - Vol. VIII, No. 4


Poetry    Translations    Fiction    Non-fiction    Reviews   

Shirley J. Brewer




Black pearl eyes over valentine wings
ablaze on a snow-coated branch.
I want your red between my fingers.
In your velvet presence, my thick boots
become scarlet sandals. I see myself
in a honkytonk nest.

Men flock near a pool table,
cue sticks like slender trees,
and me, the only babe,
fluffed up in ruby feathers.
A crimson-haired guy whistles,
beer foam on his beak.
Our eyes lock. He pecks
at my rosy boa, makes me blush.

Outside, a winter wind startles,
brings me back; bird and bird-man gone.
Beneath the frozen tree, a lone
red feather left on pristine snow.



January Loss

Heavy rain depletes the sky;
wind—unruly magician—
makes the clouds disappear.

Is it always about loss,
something stripped, deserted, torn?

After my mother died, I walked alone
down the hospital hallway—
dimly lit and empty.

Her last breath
lingered inside my ear.

Night snow fell from winter’s nest,
flakes like small white birds
hurled against the frozen earth.



‘Tis the Season

Holiday, 1982, I worked as a Talking Reindeer
at the Hutzler’s store in Baltimore.

How much do you weigh, Tinsel? Do you
like spaghetti? Beau, who cuts your hair?

I answered in my reindeer voice—
light, with sleigh bell diction.

Children revealed their secrets
to my brown, attentive eyes.

This December, a green sedan
sports a bloody deer tied to its roof.

For a moment, my foot slips off the brake,
my breath slows.

Death stuns me,
especially my own kin.


© Shirley J. Brewer


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Poetry    Translations    Fiction    Non-fiction    Reviews   

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