Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create that fact.
--William James

Cash 'n Carry
Emily's Matchbox

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Sharel Brown
Baltimore, Maryland


I run through doorways, down passages
but there's always a trail of insults, tears behind me.
A link, a bond unbroken.
Umbilical ties unsevered, now choking me
Sometimes I feel I'm at the breaking point
My heart gutted, onto a white shirt already
Stained with blood and guts and placenta.
Curled on the bed, eyes closed or staring, I think,
"Let the madness come. Then there will be peace."

Slits for eyes, a pug nose
I peer through the veil
in awe of this small gray
creature purged
from my sister's belly
fascinated my eyes follow every movement-
the furrowing and unfurrowing of brows
the bubbly, noiseless yawns
I finger the delicate, pink-tinged veil
above the bassinet with longing
for a moment, wanting a child of my own.

MAY 27, 2000
His voice comes out
like an angry dog
Ready to
rip into her throat
Each word a
sharper dagger
into her heart
To her very core.
His clamor
wakes the house
our tongues
full of whips
chains and
more daggers.
Wanting to bruise and trample
To be the victor, standing strong
on the wreckage of
another's soul.

Looking in the mirror
I see green eyes that aren't smiling.
Instead a glimmer of a melancholy
soul laid bare.
Large cliffs overlook a green hill
Instead, of an ocean.
I have an Irish soul, but no Irish blood
runs through the blue veins
under my dark skin.
Sometimes I see a black bobbed flapper
Looking fabulous on Scott's arm
in a revealing silk gown of flame
Long black beads frame her chest
Wineglass in hand she takes in the room
Pursed red lips painted with the blood of many men
Swaying Hips to the music she winks at Zelda
dripping a knowing smile. She understands.
We have an arrangement.

I used to be fragrant as cedar
When ocean breezes rushed over me
Six months to become a breeder
I used to be fragrant as cedar
Appealing to the wondrous sea
Sweep away this reeking feeder
I used to be fragrant as cedar
When ocean breezes rushed over me.

Copyright 2003 © Sharel Brown