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  • Elegy for My Ability to Be Brash | Because My Lover Drove Me Mad
  • Brandi Nicole Martin (bio)

for Anne and Rachel

Tell me, have I already started living   like a coward on the page? Tonight I hang with women     who aim to write it how it should be. We drink red wine.

We talk bitches and b-rhymes   while I learn the speech of the fearless. I fear the reach of his filthy hand     as these girls dance until Sir Elton skips, chant their manuscripts

out half-cracked porch doors to every   fainthearted live oak. Branches shudder like I do. Reminded of     his sleazy Texas blues, I’m almost too shook up to join in,

too chicken-shit to reveal my trashiest cards—   Jack of all drunks, Queen who stumbles out of bathrooms,     tights around her ankles— but my new friends aren’t judges.

Just call it sacrament, oath to bear witness   on a cold Thursday night that we are, each one of us, sirens.     There’s fire in our mouths. Taste of gasoline on every busted lip [End Page 14]

and we do hereby swear to torch   our transgressors out of hiding. And I’d give anything to forget     why fucking him is as binding as fingers pricked, blood smeared together

in some silver goblet of Trust me, baby.   I’d give it all to tattle, to break covenant and run     from the strange feel of love’s snapped neck in the dark.

I know the weight of betrayal.   But I also know the sound of a death rattle, that these ladies’ walls     quake like Solomon’s Temple before it fell, that prayers are scrawled

across every poet’s ceiling, gilded, desperate.   Anything easy to say was never stunning to begin with. [End Page 15]

Brandi Nicole Martin

Brandi Nicole Martin’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the journals Harpur Palate, PANK Magazine, and Apalachee Review, among others. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at McNeese State University.



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pp. 14-15
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