Two Poems

by Laura Adrienne Brady Issue: 2022 Special Issue on Identity

What Happened in the Branches


I stopped being someone for a while.

If I told you I crawled back in the skin,
suckled the ingrown tit because a drowning
mouth cannot speak — just latch. desire.
swallow — would you turn away from where I
                                                        sway, 
                             tree-cocooned and 
                     swaddled in skunk fur?

I wouldn’t mind the company. Then there’d be two
of us to wait, feasting and sky-burrowed, knee to
forehead, forehead to knee

tuneless pinwheels growing 
bellies for the end 
of the world.


 

Dream of Seals, Circling

Kaeley and I walk to the boundary. It is a window. An edge. 

I have been to this place before.

“Look,” I say, and point. Excitement blooms for the life and motion she is
about to see. 

Large shapes move into sight and hover directly before us. The seals are
bloated and still. Rot-darkened flesh hangs from glimmers of bone; their
eyes, swollen like canned plums about to burst, stare past us. 

This isn’t how it was supposed to be. Still, I know what to say. 

“Don’t worry,” I tell Kaeley. “It’s just the end of a cycle.” 

The dead seals drift away. We wait. 

The horizon tilts when they come back up from below, their bodies curves
of shining blubber. They arrow upwards and branch and vine, speaking a
spinning language.

A large seal almost grazes my face, passing me in a blur of whiskers and
gray spots. They know we are watching, and delight in it. They are showing
us how to do something.

Laughing, my body leaves my body. 

Like this?

My sick body holds space for my swimming body. 

Like this?

Without moving, I swim through sheets and waves.



Laura Adrienne Brady

Laura Adrienne Brady is an MFA candidate at Northern Arizona University and a writer, educator, and singer-songwriter (known as Wren). Laura’s poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Brevity, The Rappahannock Review, Reckoning Press, Seattle city buses, and elsewhere. Her most recent project, Pink Stone: Songs from Moose Lodge, is a folk album of original songs and an illustrated companion book of essays. Set in Washington's Methow Valley, the collection explores themes of illness, intimacy, and healing. Laura is currently working on a full-length collection about recovery of health and ancestral technologies. Explore her music and writings at SwimmingRabbitArts.com.