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Beforelife
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          My mother found me
asleep in an abandoned skiff,
just one among hundreds
in a boneyard
of boats; I, just one boy
          among thousands,
all sleeping.

In one boat lay my unborn
brother. In another, miscarriage,
          water rising
through wooden floorboards.

And there a blackbird
          with a viper in its talons.
And there a girl standing—
white as the flesh of an apple—
          arms outstretched
measuring the rain.

My mother swam between boats
              and lifted herself
on the gunwales, peering
          into the cribs of hollow keels,
          until she chose

          me, a coral snake
poisonous and docile,
a body ringed in red and gold,
the poison she needed,
the poison
              she chose.

Brandon Courtney  

Brandon Courtney served four years in the United States Navy and is a graduate of the MFA program at Hollins University. His poetry is forthcoming or appears in Best New Poets, 32 Poems, and the Boston Review. Thrush Press published his chapbook, Improvised Devices. His book, The Grief Muscles, is forthcoming from Sheep Meadow Press.

Copyright © 2013 University of Wisconsin Board of Regents
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Brandon Courtney. "Beforelife." Cream City Review 37.2 (2013): 57-57. Project MUSE. Web. 20 Jan. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Courtney, B.(2013). Beforelife. Cream City Review 37(2), 57. Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
Brandon Courtney. "Beforelife." Cream City Review 37, no. 2 (2013): 57-57. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed January 20, 2014).
TY - JOUR
T1 - Beforelife
A1 - Brandon Courtney
JF - Cream City Review
VL - 37
IS - 2
SP - 57
EP - 57
PY - 2013
PB - Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
SN - 2166-014x
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/cream_city_review/v037/37.2.courtney.html
N1 - Volume 37, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2013-2014
ER -

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