Two New Poems by Brett Fletcher Lauer

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Home Invasion

From the month of data
I retrieve myself.
Night rusts. It goes
without saying
shadows are containers,
I’m saying it: there is
no safe angle of approach.
Black cat, black cat,
hours ago my friend,
accompanied by other
thoughts, derived
from an original now
retarded, a root grown
around a shovel un-
powered by imagination.
I know you, origin
beyond mine called
something unnamed.
I can see you anywhere,
particularly corners,
curtains, misplaced
door, hinge pulled apart.

The Revised Script

In earlier drafts, the sea’s
function was utilitarian.
It was placed for sentimental
reasons and to set the scene
for the meeting of two
protagonists — officially
man and woman introduced
by arrangement of a third
party at an office function,
or, if desirable, chance:
a Jane Austen novel, a seaside
bench. The lights go down
and occasionally through
ambivalent darkness
a horn is heard from
a ship at rest, quarantined
with illness, either mild
or severe. The lights, after
a prescribed intermission,
rise. I know the declarations
from the middle scenes
serve to prove one will let
the other down and now,
two-thirds through, a slight
fatigue sets in. What was
spring fades now into
autumn and what was
1986 passes into updated
hairstyles and footwear.
I understand the linear passage
of time arranges them here,
and furthermore he or she
may be holding an object
providing behavioral cues. A book
by Charlotte Brontë. A red
umbrella. It goes unnoted
in dialogue, that is to say it is
taken for granted. The lights go down.
The lights come up. Enter clouds.
Not for anything, but even
pleasure felt well enough
is a form that plays itself out
with second guessing. We can
recall being here before
on a seaside bench where ships
unload crates or cruise passengers.
It goes unnoted, but is clear
with time foreshortened that he
or she or one of us is here
to portray the other differently,
aided by stage directions
and body language — that said
person has changed, grown,
or moved on. Occasionally
a ship’s horn is heard, enters into
thought to be experienced
as another analogous instance
of morbid conditions prevailing.
The time remaining moves
forward with a new slant or is
abandoned in case of rain.
It can’t be undone, it won’t be
undone, it is done for the sake
of drawing this out. A part
was played and the wind kept
interrupting his or her face
with hair, obviously a mistake
we will call the natural elements
that no script anticipated.

Brett Fletcher Lauer is the managing director of the Poetry Society of America and the poetry editor for A Public Space. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Bomb, Boston Review, Harper’s, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn and runs Ships that Pass.

You may contact the editor of The Poetry Section at

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