Brain Mill Press was honored to get these five wonderful “Love or Fear” submissions to our final event for Poetry Month. Please read the final entries by Elizabeth Berry, Pam Faste, GB Gordon, Dylan Loring, and Karen Wellsbury, and tomorrow, we’ll announce an overall winner from both the April 17th and this April 30th Brain Mill Press celebrates Poetry Month poetry posts.

Stars in the Sky

Elizabeth Berry

Maybe your cancer has come backand that is why it is so hard to sleep and when you do sleepyou wake up with a throat full of sand and you stumbleacross the worn wood floors to the kitchen for waterand gulp it down by the glassful trying not to look at the windowbecause the moon might look back and once you lock eyes with itit’s hard not to notice the blanket of stars that spreads out forever

and there’s just something about a blanket of starsspreading out foreverthat is destroying youmaking your heart literally ache in your bodyas you yearn for a boy’sfat hand in your handhis face a moon shining back in a picturethat you keep hidden in a drawerwith all of the other sharp knivessafe therefrom stars raining down from skiesfrom windshields exploding on impact.

You rub the scars.Stare out the window.

Moment Before

Pam Faste

It’s like thisthat moment before I speak,or write or post or sendor walk into a room, andthen again inthe moment just after, but also beforeas I waitawareness etched in acidthat sizzling, light-headed anticipation ofyour attention,my wrongnessreflected in your eyesin yoursilence drawn back to an ugly, rock strewn beachthe wave caught at the apex of its curvebefore the rising roar,before the scalding onrushof shame


G. B. Gordon

your face of cream and steeland laughter, like water and wholeand your old, blue Volvo

brick and slanting light

framingmuscled gracedancing, breathless, like a good gallop

a lady’s dirty nailsand sun marksat the corners of your eyes

a taut feelinglike guitar stringsfine-tuning the sensesno eternityjust now

Love Poem

Dylan Loring

I can’t set out to write a love poembecause when I doI end up runningcheese through the grater.

I can’t set out to write a love poembecause it makes me feellike I’m invoking broad generalizationsinstead of interpersonal revelations.

I want to write a love poemand have the person it’s intended forread it in silencethen hug me.

I want to write a love poemfor one personso that that one person knowsit is a true love poem.

Love is likefinding a good sushi restaurantin the African desertassuming you’re really into sushi.

Love is likean agoraphobe leaving his housejust this onceand just for her.

Poetry is likeprose vomiting a sculpturethat the person you loveproceeds to appreciate.

Poetry is likea smiling severed deer headon a platterbut with words.

Poetry is likea bunch of similesdesperately attemptingto convey feeling.

This is a love poem,this is not a Hallmark card,and you can’t buy one of thoseduring my love poem.

This is a love poem,we are a love poem,we are a seriesof love poems.

This is a love poem,it is cheesy,admit thatyou love it.

Dylan Loring is an MFA candidate at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he studies Poetry and Screenwriting. In addition, he hosts KMSU 89.7’s Weekly Reader author interview program and serves as Poetry Editor for the Blue Earth Review.

Grace and Tommy

Karen Wellsbury

Pa brought a puppy home, wrappedIn his coat, at Christmas remember that? Laughterbubbles up, while hands on the tablegrasp and twine, searching for a truthwhere’s my Tommy, he’s late, he’llmiss tea. Grandad died Nan, Tommy’sgone. Watch for recognition, hazy eyedremembrance, Tommy died?he’s in his room, don’t lie, and whena trick of the light looks like a smilewe have tea, I make believeit’s alright. Hand slaps table, fragilebrittle china white, her rage like flash fireshe fixedmy fissured heart, custard pourer supremeGrace beloved of Tommy,cocooned in kitchen warmth, teasated – hold my hand, pleaseknow me. Tommy needs his teashe flattens her skirt like my heart, myfirst love, took me to school, Itake her to bed.

For this year’s National Poetry Month, Brain Mill Press & Voices wants to add to your #TBR pile, sing siren songs of unsung heroes, and signal boost living poets we should be reading more. By the end of the month, we hope you will have acquired 30+ new books of poetry and that they continue to multiply in the darkness of your library. Explore new voices & new forms — re-read some old favorites — play if you liked this poet, you’ll like . . . the old-fashioned way, algorithm-free — just poetry lovers talking to poetry lovers, as the Universe intended. Happy #NaPoMo2019 from Brain Mill.