Inside a classically
tinfoil-windowed apartment

Armand sits and broods
over tangled news,

teasing out threads that lead
to other threads, pointing out 

omens that predict
future omens.

Armand, his family says,
has always had the gift and the curse.

Which is which from day to day
they never know.

There’s not much distance 
between the two.

He’s two animals away
from having a full zoo,

is what the family
has always said about Erik

who can’t seem
to hold onto himself

for very long, thus
establishing a pattern

of strange footprints
left behind in an odd 

and broken path. It’s not
even clear that

Erik has always been alone
on the journey if you 

examine the tracks closely,
which the family thinks

is not at all
a good idea.

If only there were
clear reasons for Daryl’s 

monosyllabic insistence
upon standing so close

to the table
at Sunday dinner

that it becomes hard
to set and serve. Almost as if

he thinks the family
eats too much or

that he must block
their formality or

that Sunday dinner itself
could still be as deadly

as it was when he was
a youth.

At eight AM
a baby skunk runs by

my front windows
with a yogurt cup on its head.

I try to catch it and yank it free
but my fear keeps me

from investing too much
in that effort to care;

I think maybe it will bite or
I will end up stinking 

and blinded. It runs around
like madness itself trying

to get free
of what has happened

through no fault of its own
as it attempted to find

sweetness, sustenance;
as it attempted to live.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

2 responses to “Families

  • Bob Gill

    How do you choose the names for the characters in your work? They always seem to be a perfect fit. Erik, with a k, reminded me of someone I knew who fit your description whose name was also Erik, with a k.

    • Tony Brown

      Um…I don’t really know? I picture the characters and they tell me their names, kinda. Sound within the line and over all helps decide the final form.

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