Two Poems by Michelle Brooks

Three Mile Island at Night

I am waiting for the disaster of my
life to reveal itself. All the elements
are present for an accident of serious
consequence. When it does, I will make
the oldest wish – for things to be as they once
were, the moment before the inevitable.
First pretend this isn’t happening. If you
don’t acknowledge it, it will go away. It’s
a bad dream. When you can no longer hide
it, shift blame. Wash your hands. Rinse,
lather, repeat. The poison has seeped into you.
You are Cassandra. You told everyone, and now
you and your crystal ball can’t be blamed.
You saw this happening. You knew. Or you
didn’t. You had no idea. You can’t be blamed.

At night there is no difference between you
made a mistake and you are a mistake. Make
no mistake now – you are here with no map.
Hell is a self-perpetuating circle. You aren’t
going anywhere. That was before, the moment
you can’t conjure. Make no mistake. You are home.

That’s Not A Window, It’s A Mirror

My darkness may include unwanted
side effects like dizziness and shortness
of breath. Imagine my hands around your
throat. Stop immediately if thoughts
of suicide worsen. I am contraindicated,
for people with certain underlying conditions.
Off-label, take me as needed for pain. My
label doesn’t specify which kind. After all,
pain is information that nobody wants.
Severe side effects, including death, may
occur. Stop using me and seek immediate
medical attention for uncontrollable movements
which can be permanent. Don’t act surprised.
After all, you knew I came with a warning label.

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Michelle Brooks has published work in Alaska Quarterly Review, Iowa Review, and elsewhere. Her collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small, was published by Backwaters Press, and her novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, was published by Storylandia Press. A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in her favorite city, Detroit, Michigan.

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