Issue > Poetry
Brian Francis

Brian Francis

Brian Francis is a Cave Canem fellow from New York City. He has an MFA in Poetry from NYU. His poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in No, Dear, Tupelo Quarterly, Fledgling Rag and Cave Canem Anthology XIII. He lives and teaches eighth-grade English in Harlem.

Tongues

In a recent episode that was not a dream My father who is not my father speaks to me      warns me while the house      where I was raised begins to take in water          becomes the house where I raise my family. A storm is beating through the cracks and soaking our feet. I knew the blankets and towels were here to soak up all of this excess. I know that, still, I am falling. Luckily, I have built a clothcloud or two in my time and this catches me, my head missing the edge of the table and into the quiver of hands that are not mine, but of the sick man who loves me, needs me, that I ask      about when I wake up. He doesn't sleep without me we don't sleep not yet   what if I don't wake up     there is too much left to do. They watch us. Wait. I have not saved      enough. If they know all the missing in me,      my boys will have nothing. They take to rebuilding legs and have chemistry to steady. Catch me      Worrying on the work of wings.

The View from 3807 Foster Street


Some kid riding a Krylon high, bombs a lullaby
for insomniac night. Sirens dance obnoxious  

reds and blues on the howl of the chained,
the flight of strays. Searching their reflections  

they overextend their arms. The dust of dead stars
at the bottom of puddles believed seas. Soldiers
     
of sons' fortune—whips scar in stripes.
Towncriers, passersby and wayward beasts—      

muted notes. A reluctant eruption hidden
in chests. Two avenues over, lovers take their praise
to living room floor.

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