Issue > Poetry
Brenda Butka

Brenda Butka

Brenda Butka is a physician in Nashville, where she and her husband also host an organic farm, complete with all the appurtenances of middle Tennesse life—tractors, dogs, cats, koi, and cows. She has been awarded a Hopwood for poetry from the University of Michigan.

Poolside

The husband stands in the shallow end.
Neighbor children climb him like a monument.
One by one he pitches them, ripe
like little melons, arcs of sweet terror
sprawling through the air.  Giggling,
they minnow back for another trip.


  II

The neighbor wives turn from side to side
think dim thoughts behind their shades:

of the skimpy husbands they have left behind,
or will leave, or will not

of the mottled light turning
like salamanders around his underwater legs

of the weight of a column of air,
the weight of a column of water

of that Katie, not so long ago a nubbin
at her breast, flying from a man's arms
feathered in the simple elements,
scattering droplets like reckless diamonds, heading
for the deep end.

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