Two Poems By Jenny Browne

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Love Letter to a Stranger (Kabul)

The back of the waitress’ coffee arm holds
a grip-shaped bruise. I mean to write
how familiar that pink baby, pinching
hard for her Cheerios with such desperate
concentration, but I keep getting emails
from A Skinnier You, and I keep reading
that the combat mission has ended. Acid
thrown from the back of a motorcycle.
I mean email from Hear Ladies Scream in Bed.
I mean to dress more appropriately for this
late spring surge of freeze, and apologize
for my entire existence, but I keep feeling (sorry)
like some sad armadillo banging her head
on the future’s poorly reinforced undercarriage,
foolish to think I can ever wake
unafraid for our daughters.

Love Letter to a Stranger (China)
 — for my mother

Chinese medicine believes sadness a sign
of too much wind.

On the mesa I watch Summer Olympics
bounced from Bejing. Authorities have been
seeding clouds, tamping their horizon’s
steady cigarette.

Handsprung girls land and gather back
in shuddering breaths. This is not
the year of the horse.

She’s tried adding green to the canvas,
but she’s not painting much anymore.

Grasshoppers snap along the dusty shoulder
like bad matches. We dig six inches
and hit red rock.

They say your ears will fall off
if you keep pointing at the moon.

Jenny Browne lives, writes and watches basketball in downtown San Antonio, Texas. (Go Spurs!)

More poems? Right this way, to the archives of The Poetry Section. You may contact the editor at