S. Brook Corfman


I was having outsized reactions
that I felt were appropriate

but not telling anyone about them.
I tried on three different

shirts before I gave up
trying to match that feeling.

If I were some other kind
of artist, I would be an abstract painter.

I like how the shape
can hold a feeling, the way a vase

holds water, or glass, heat.
When the line continued

into the auditorium, I looked
a landscape into existence.

There is little t and big T
trauma and the little t

is more relational.
That is, it’s about an overpowering feeling.

How movement is circumscribed
by a projection of another’s attitude.

Does milkweed float?
When I began this poem, it included

a stanza about tears
I’ve since removed. There is an outer circle

and an inner one, and then
there is just me.

Working with middle schoolers,
I wanted to spend the rest

of the day with them,
to ensure no one used what I gave them

to cause them harm.



I woke up twice today. I had some sense.

I was sharing room. Then summer, surrounded. Then less space.

I don’t normally sleep quietly, I realized, I didn’t need to do it. Then I did.

Over time, rebuilding looked different: naps instead of a trip to the pool.

Even lost lip service, even decorum.

Someone waking up worry. What kind of safety happens in a spinning orb.

I have also been unsafe, and here the three of us are on the couch.

Who will be the first attack.

There is a big window in the front room, a high window to its right. One won’t open, the other won’t lock.

There is a door in my room to the wilderness, barely fenced.

They’ll walk swiftly past one human body towards the other.

S. Brook Corfman is the author of Luxury, Blue Lace, chosen by Richard Siken for the Autumn House Rising Writer Prize (forthcoming November 2018), and a chapbook, Meteorites, forthcoming from DoubleCross Press sooner than that. Recent work has appeared (or will soon) in DIAGRAM, Indiana Review, Muzzle, Territory, and Quarterly West (Best of the Net Nomination), among other places. Born and raised in Chicago, the life now plays out from a turret in Pittsburgh. @sbrookcorfman