Annah Browning

In the Beginning


In the beginning there was
                a request. A downward

pointed finger in sand. The light
was not needed,

and thus began the inconsistent
                world. The serpent saw

this, and he knew. He, too,
                was a finger. He pulled

a curve with his body, and ran.
                Beckoned ever since.

The continuing spiral.
                The trigger-head.



God pulled a trigger
                and said, I saw

something. It was obvious
                and odd. It was

light hopping away from
                a tree. What glistens,
he said. What hurts.



Little creeks come in.
                They are wiping my lips.

Here, canary, they say to me.
                Talk to us the talk

-talk. Opening my mouth,
                a fingerlet threads in.

Who talk-talk. Who ran away
                the king. I bring a fist

up and drop. The king ran
                away me. The king.

A reddening cloud appears.
                On the nails of my hand,

I see it. It holds over. It moves
                my body off of me.

It moves as I move me.

God mates me, and I

                mate back.



God rest me, I said,
                but something else

came. Rodent-like in fur,
                bearing up against

me. The bones of its spine
                all cracked. Some

things exist in their
                perfection, it said,

and put its teeth into
                my thigh. I look

at the wound and see
                a kind of brightness,

a leeching off of light.
                The air felt difficult

to move in. There was a tree,

but I wasn’t hanging myself.



The antlers are massive.
                They are sitting outside

in the rain. I am outside, too.
                I put my head down

next to them. Be, be,
                I say. Be, be.




Nothing attaches. Nothing
                is strong enough.

Then, if we are clever.
                Then, if we are wily.

The whole house falls down
                clear of itself.

To be destroyed. To be free

                of the Maker.



I go through all the trees,
                one by one. I am

looking for the noose
                that waits for me.

I have to talk with it.
                I have to tell it

some particulars. How
                many stars in the lasso,

I say, and touch the loose
                braid how many charms

on the bracelet, I am shaking,
                pull my hair around

my neck and say, look,
                we are sisters now,

you and I noose, looking
                just the same.

Black medallion. Circle
                round a clouded face—



Look, I am rendered
                like my punishment.

Though in branches we shine
                differently. I am someone

else with my feet. I walk above
                the sand and the sand

doesn’t feel me. What
                a bloom my feet make.

Slow turning point. Blot.
                There is no cancellation.



There is the man
                and the woman

I am not. Open my hand.
                In the center is

a hole. And here a coin
to push on through it—

a token for admission.
                Come in, come now.

Here I have prepared
a place for you.

The Kingdom


I am nothing like
                God. It gives me

pleasure, I said, it gives
                me pleasure,

stretching out my hand
                before. This body

is bigger than my other
                body. I am longer,

and the belly looms. Get
                up, somebody says.

Get up get up get up.
                The sky is my white

sheet. I press my face up
                into it. It is wonderful.

The ground grows cold
                beneath me, grass

springs up where I was. All
                a matter of distance,

someone says. Distance,
                yes. Now the wind
comes up to feed me.

Rosewater. I am tasting it.

                I bring it all my breaths.