b r e n t    h o u s e








Amen rises amid pales   splits wood as a bay when a quest been found   & carries light to dark
                                                                                                                                      & light again
I wait for ardent tongues to edify a formicary   & quake with accent rhythm & intonation
as amen rises   a life of needles    joined haphazardly   emerges as words & sentences   like
                                                                                                                     language   I cannot speak
cannot join in   either by revelation   by knowledge   by prophecy   or by doctrine
as I am spelt   in plain interpretation    & will not break   root truth for fervent affection
                                                                    & I war with the swyke   that feir ant freoly ys to fyke
who comes through denses of canebrake   through treelines & through fields heavy grazed
rising mounds of clay   for he is endowed by power of bite & sting   a second blessing of venom
as a hoard of workers secure    privative waters wash   a triune body buried & risen again
I migrate to the mind   devour as an instar rising above roots   & lay safe in a thin state of grace
in a bramble bed   in an open pasture lined with myrtle oak & pine   & I listen to communion
to spirit baptism   to faith so uttered   the divine becomes man   a flesh pierced with conception.



We threw roots into fire until we were derelict   ash & dust   memory of a begotten trough

filled with the spirit

& skeps of char   until our intarissable woods exhaust into an advent of pastures guild

understory remnants

once covered with old growth   & then cut away   circles of time widened on carse

narrowed on hill

the native sadness tracked until shotguns & dogtrots came & kept fast unto a sustenance

deep & hard faith

until desire removed the pith & ploughed with jagged blades of blood & tars

hot with release & so long kept

a husband & a son without a title to land   so the absent whelp of an intemperate memory

claimed the maternal soil

the fields so diligently crafted in the tracks of the dummy line that led our fathers here

to pines now lost.



                                                                                                           Isnít earth swallowing enough

a land of hanging surrounds the inheritance of fields given    wells accept offerings
                                                                                                                              men as fallen loss

& I have not wronged my soil    have fed the steer I slaughter & have scaled the bass I eat
have heard messages of the end of time	                                                   as native-born must

& they come into crowns offering aroma pleasing to the Lord    & my firstborn daughter
                                                                                                                         a partaker of fullness

dwells ground & settled    & lifts bark of magnolia hope not to be moved away
fulfills a dispensation of grace                                                                         bares a gospel tongue

as her words will claim an inheritance from soil    & like wayward her words
                                                                                                                          soar over the woods

merciful to her as kudzu spreading far from their root crown     & cleave to a house
on whence they art fallen	                                                                         come joined together

& even the trees rejoice & say    Since her words gather    no feller is come against them
                                                                                                                          she lays down divine

for through the heartwood of our house    she ascends into heaven    offers word as wilderness
& her glory	                                                                                                   makes old bareness

picturesque    & she tufts with a claim of native vine    a feudal tower of her peoples remnant.



Hunger raddles the body & above tree lined pastures   spans open

consuming memory like an afterbirth full of nutrients

& black shadows fall in circles of stagnant horizon

as a communal body in the sky waits & last breath pushes against

an empty body fallen to the ground

mercifully lost in a bed of mulch

so that mercy is not unknown or forgotten in a prodigal & savage land

on sweet birch & swamp maple

buzzards perched in insolent readiness

ravishing & turbulent   bent into a lowing pain   lo & behold

they stand on high branches & seize darkness

break from the shoulder heavy born remnants

& talons bring salvation from perishing   as evenfall would bring

coyotes from hills far away

hanging on the tree line

as death humbles the head   even the born predator of terrible eyes

of floppy tongue & of outstretched limbs

of hooves soft from the belly.



Among bales I crawl   through bahia & rye   breathing the evening dust through

long bores of clarity   open sky

I fear not   nothing   raised up by four corners of a common evil   & a weight of cold

I fear nothing   not torments of hope   nor the thing with feathers that perches in the soul

leaves remnants   pelt & bone   I fear not   because I know no one puts new cut hay into old barns

else new cut hay

bursts into fire   hay is burnt   barn is ruined so new hay must be cured   in new cut pastures

must suffer   shed life & hope

must be put away   hazy for breath   loose in a dry winter of stubble   & a crack of sheath

moults   under a rough cut joist

I fear not the remnant of this other   coming to crawl out of his skin.



BRENT HOUSE grew up in Necaise, Mississippi, where he raised cattle and watermelons on the family farm. His poems have appeared online in Free Verse, H_NGM_N, Typo, storySouth, Anti-, and elsewhere. He is a contributing editor for The Tusculum Review.


I S S N     1 5 5 9 - 6 5 6 7