Two Poems for Haunted Passages by Annah Browning

Haunted Passages: Annah Browning

On Reading the Unsolved Mysteries

I no longer want to see 
the world. I want to hold 

a bouquet of aliens 
in my hand like violets

and stare into their black 
eyes. I want to get dizzy 

falling in love with the probe. 
I want to be the compass 

that swings and swings, 
never resting anywhere. 

There is no grove I am 
setting my eyes toward,

no monolith I believe. Stones stand 
under stars because that 

is what they do. If a priestess 
asks you to hold the knife, 

you’ll do it with your guts. 
I hold up like a crop circle—

grain bending flat,
spectacular, unbroken.

First Time with Bigfoot

Whether a mystery is unexplained or not
depends largely on how easily

you are satisfied—is this egg hard enough
fried on your toast, have you swept

hard enough this porch? How do you
decide to keep some answers—

do you hoard them in your pockets,
dim dimes and eroded presidents,

coins of a realm you say
is killing you—chemical trails fluorescing

in the sky light like your grandmother’s
underthings bleaching on the line—

you can’t carry them in, because she’s dead.
And you can’t stop worrying

that worn out place on the porch steps,
wearing your second-best shoes

so you can tell the man with the camera
how old you were when a man from

the forest first took your hand.
Laid you down on something that should

have been softer, red ring of shock
between your legs, sunlight white

between the trees, trees bending over
like doctors, crowns never touching—

when you decided the earth as it was
would never again be enough for you.

Annah Browning is the author of the poetry collection Witch Doctrine (University of Akron Press, 2020) and the chapbook The Marriage (Horse Less Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in Willow Springs, Black Warrior Review, Court Green, and elsewhere. She is the poetry editor of Grimoire Magazine and a professor of English and Creative Writing at Blackburn College.


Check out HFR’s book catalog, publicity list, submission manager, and buy merch from our Spring store. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.