For No One

Poetry

Two Poems by Michael Brosnan

In can’t-make-this-stuff-up detail,
a three-year-old recalls his final hours
as a World War II Navy pilot

 

For No One

In can’t-make-this-stuff-up detail,
a three-year-old recalls his final hours
as a World War II Navy pilot
 
when on a cloudless day off Okinawa
his engine flamed out and his plane
shuddered and spiraled into the sea,
 
the detritus of a shattered world.
Well, not a shattered world exactly.
A shattered us lost in the world.
 
The sea, being the sea,
drew him in like a breath,
held him almost lovingly
 
until there was nothing left for him to hate.
How could such a memory be?
The answer: Because consciousness
 
is more basic than matter.
Which explains everything
and nothing.
 
And makes me think
long and hard on nothing,
the way it sits there, not speaking.
 

 Cottage Cheese

 
In the refrigerator: two bottles of beer
and a container of cottage cheese.
 
You take them out,
place them on the table between us.
 
You open a beer. I open a beer.
We do not touch the cottage cheese.
 
We might eat it, though
it would be better with cling peaches.
 
It’s a summer afternoon and we are
starting to shape notions of the coming days—
 
What we think matters, where we’ll go,
how we’ll offer the world small hints of love.
 
If we had a can of cling peaches,
I would definitely eat the cottage cheese,
 
or a few spoonfuls. Redirect my thinking
to basic questions of redemption.
 

Michael Brosnan’s poetry has appeared in various literary journals, including Confrontation, Borderlands, Prairie Schooner, Barrow Street, New Letters, The Moth, and Rattle. A collection of his poems, The Sovereignty of the Accidental, is due out in November 2017 from Harbor Mountain Press. He is also the author of Against the Current, a book on inner-city education, and serves as the senior editor for Teaching While White (www.teachingwhilewhite.org).

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