Editors' Picks, Week 2

Poetry by Anise Black

Powderhorn Bench

by Anise Black


Child sits on a worn bench
facing the omnipotent glistening lake

Sun casts hazy ripples of Mother’s back
onto the broken piles of wrinkled soil

She sorrowfully gazes past the maverick of ducklings
compliantly trailing after their Mother


Past the mass of children joyously frolicking
on the periodic playground


Past the disengaged couples
reverently power walking in sync


They sit on the bench until slivers of splinters
dig into Child’s bow-legged thighs

Mother descending, unraveling
underneath the plastered sky
The lake hue turning from amber to ash

Father, prematurely engulfed by the same sky
Sternly cast into a trapped mortal inferno
A sky Child knew all too well


Drawn in orange crayon
while Father was still alive
Coloring in the lines
wishing for his immortality


Child comforting Mother’s silent cries
Unkept, fractured, mourning

Mother and ducklings retreat
from the ashen lake to their warm nest

Child hugs herself tightly as a chill passes
over her and between her and Mother

Father sits beside her, above her
sheltering her in the warmth
of the archaic wooden bench

His presence soothes her
as he sings her favorite song

He cradles their water stained faces
cupping dried tears with hollow burnt hands

They sit on the bench
warmly embracing the Veil

Staring at a gloomy and spirited lake
Unkept, fractured, mourning
Unkept, fractured, mourning

Jareen Imam author photo

Anise Black is a black poetess, writer, and recovering New Yorker who now lives cozily nestled in North Carolina. Anise once wrote an epic poem dedicated to each of her ferocious, loving felines (El Gato & Layla Ali). She loves to hike in the Blue Ridge mountains, watch cooking shows, and read science fiction.

National Poetry Month

BMP Celebrates National Poetry Month

As the pandemic has continued into its second year, we at Brain Mill are thinking about spaces & places: how we exist in space, the importance of access, and the particulars of navigating places. We have gathered together in ways that may have been new to us over the last few years, greeting each other in small squares of connectivity, developing relationship and care with virtual check-ins, follows, and voices translated via technology. In our best moments we have learned to listen; in our worst, we have been caught up by all the ways we need to do better and think more deeply about community systems and for whom entry is barred.

Top photo by Anthony Cantin on Unsplash