Johnny Appleseed


A myth, a mistake,

raking sodden leaves into trodden ground

feeling dirt sift beneath his weight;

a nomad, a flake,

an illustration in a children’s book

planting the American dream, original sin;

a sexist, a snake,

sowing seeds into earthy wombs,

throwing them to absent winds

praying they catch, they root, they grow

bitter, sour, sweet;

a marvel, a fake,

a man

who tread across

the heart

of my own Ohio,

a man

who preached what he did not know.



A Madman’s Lullaby


There is a monster lives inside my head,

His eyes the yellow of the yowling dead;

I speak with him before I go to bed.


He sleeps, dark familiar, throughout the day,

Lonely, cold-fingered, molded from dread.

There is a monster lives inside my head.


He dreams where I should live instead,

Drawing the curtain from a summer’s ray.

I speak with him when I rise from bed.


He mocks the children for their children’s play

And bakes his misery in a poisoned bread.

There is a monster lives inside my head.


He speaks the words I would leave unsaid,

Wearing my skin weathered and frayed.

I speak with him before I go to bed.


He lures me in where no man dare tread,

Lighting the darkened path of an unlighted way.

There is a monster lives inside my head;

He speaks to me before he goes to bed.




Death, to Whom I Speak

For E. Springer


The phone rang yesterday afternoon

as I walked, dragging

my feet into the kitchen

because I could not find the cordless phone.

When I answered,

I heard — or imagined I heard —


answering from the other line, Your voice

whispering words with no syllables,

words in no tongue I could understand.

I tried to catch

a piece of Your voice

to bottle in a jar

like a sort of broken lullaby

to lull me to sleep on sleepless nights.

Before I could speak,

You ­— or the remains of You —

were gone

and I was left with a longing

and the dull tone

of static silence.



Pierce Brown

Pierce C. Brown is a poet, short story writer and translator. He currently lives and studies in Mainz, Germany.

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