Michelle Brooks: 3 Poems

Tabloid Dreams

I am writing to you from a far-away

place. The future is nowhere in sight.

You won’t learn anything new. I’m not

alone – the ghosts whisper into intercoms

at night. There’s a suitcase in the hallway

that I keep forgetting to move. Sometimes

the light shines into this darkness, and I read

magazines with pictures of the famous

dead, piles of yesteryear’s scandals. None

of this matters anymore.  It’s always late

afternoon, and I’m always waiting for someone

to come home. A lit cigarette rests on a saucer

that has never been used for anything except ashes.

The Serpent Consumes Itself

You won’t like why I’m telling

you this story about when the carnival

came to town. Set up in the mall

parking lot next to the dying Sears,

the late summer heat glints off the steel,

and from the top of the Ferris wheel, I

can see the highway rising like an ordinary

hallucination in the dog days of summer.

It leaves within days as if it was never

there, and yet I am still suspended

on the top of this world I’ve known

forever, understanding this limbo exists

within my blood, always knowing when

the carnival comes to town, I realize it never left.

I Didn’t Mean to Scare You

A girl crawls out of the dumpster

at the Shell where I am getting

gas early Sunday morning, the heat

already like a blanket. In the bleached

denim light, I gather empty water

bottles and fast food wrappers to toss

while the girl motions to someone

who crawls out of the dumpster which

appears to contain multitudes. I curse

myself for letting the tank get to almost

empty while the numbers rise. My Russian

nesting dolls from the dumpster walk

into an alley, gone from my sight. Did

they find what they were looking for?

Does anyone? All I know is that gas prices

are rising again, making me wonder why

it costs so much to get anywhere at all.


Michelle Brooks has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small, (Backwaters Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, (Storylandia Press). Her poetry collection, Flamethrower, will be published by Latte Press in 2019. A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit.