Lilith muses aloud
By Antoinette Brim
A woman can:
be the mother of all,
the mother of God
or the woman who hung the scarlet thread
be the woman who gleaned,
the woman who judged
or the woman whose hair washed His feet
be the first at the tomb,
carry a portent in her womb
or be labored for – for fourteen years
or a woman can:
hide in the hollow of trees; part
raptor; part temptress; all legend
and lie; singing into the night chill
a tortured trill of regret; alone
and unable to die.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at War
By Antoinette Brim
In a universe of a billion stars,
the only certainty
Are we of three minds:
the dutiful son
the mother who bore that son
the father who sends that son?
An exploded ballot box sends
its ballots to whirl on the winds of war.
A man and a woman
are an island.
A man and a woman in their grief
I do not know which to disdain:
root-bound Calais lilies
or plastic peonies wrapped tight
Dying flowers litter the tabletop
with spent petals.
A child’s fingertip smears
yellow pollen dust
back and forth, back and forth.
Boredom traced onto a tabletop
leaves a decipherable print.
Oh, men of caves and thrones,
why do you forge new swords?
Do you not see that a round table
seats the great host of men
I know of noble pontification
with its church-like cadences,
but I know too
that the moon is involved in all we do.
A circle has no beginning or end.
Its edges include or exclude;
include or exclude
At the sight of common blackbirds
flying into the morning light,
even the most righteous general
sinks into jagged despair.
They clamber into strange lands
astride glass horses.
Once, a sword-sharp fear pierced them
when they mistook a child and his slingshot
for the shadow of a crow’s eye.
The oceans have dried up.
The gulls feast on fish suffocating in the sun.
It has been night for months now.
There has been no rain.
And, it will continue to rain
darkness until the raven returns
with an olive branch.
Antoinette Brim, author of Psalm of the Sunflower, is a Cave Canem Foundation fellow, a recipient of the Walker Foundation Scholarship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, a Pushcart Prize nominee and an Assistant Editor of the NAACP Image Award nominated Surviving and Thriving: 365 Facts in Black Economic History by Dr. Julianne Malveaux. Her work has appeared in various journals, magazines and anthologies.