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you wake up every morning    and waking
you smell water     its plodding     constant presence
measuring the creek     The water has a baby
each second it is flowing     It moves
the grass like fingers at the bottom of an arm
You study     while reclining     green
tendons and their flexing     the weak
or practiced bending they do above the child
The snake     at every morning     comes
desperate     creeping     lowly     Muscles warp
the surface of a temporary skin     Underneath
the belly     legs propel it forward
oarsmen pulling paddles made of melting wax
To be the stream     you wonder     must
be something special     closest to the infant
bearing what may be     Then     slowly     with
your fingers     you take it by the hollow
patch absent of jawbone     onion
wrapped in scales     The snake contorts and
stiffens     grapples for a foothold     Its body
becomes letters     scrawled in shingled light
The letters come together     to form
a single sentence     in heaven’s
extant language     no sound for which exists
I beg you     Tell me something secret     the way
to make you happy
     words the color of a throne
room     but my heart is a cracked jar
Each day     I listen without hearing
while a cloudbank parts like curtains
This world     this world
beyond this world     The snake opens its mouth
Then quiet as your sleeping     you band its legs
with rubber     to suffocate the hip bones
four lean fields strewn with salt



Brandon Jordan Brown is a writer and artist in Portland, Oregon.




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