michael brownstein

Winter Above the Hills Near Sa Pa

When the first grand winter storm falls late autumn,
the flowers already put away, the summer hens hide,
and gecko bird goes deep into its tree.
Dawn, a pink welt strain of color,
the sun no longer able to find its way.
Rooster relishes this time of day,
the sky a scar of dirty snow, the trees
Christmas light white, the ground
a ream of freshly minted paper.
Who among us cannot come into this day with awe?
the teal bug? the cicada? the river rat?
Still dawn remains hidden, the sky an almost blue,
two willow trees clouds in the distance.

In Indian Country, Heat and Fire Rhyme

In the wash between the Missouri and the palisades,
heat and fire rhyme.
Sky has breath, water afterbirth, and down the graveled path
past cattails, marshes and poison ivy quagmire and film:
Every stride, meter. Every bend, a new line.
The horizon, another stanza.
The small back of dusk, the white stream of light, a lake at dawn,
trees, shadow, wind against a shrouded sky,
earthbound color,
the easy scent of spring after a good rain,
perfumed clean bath water clear.

Michael H. Brownstein‘s work has appeared in The Café Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011). He taught elementary school in Chicago’s inner city (now retired), but continues to study authentic African instruments, designs websites, and records performance and music pieces.