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,
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.