• Barren the Fury

    in Excerpts/Poetry by

    Barren the FuryPrologue

    to the end of a dream
    christened war.

    you must decide when and
    where waking
    and story begin.

    which lies
    remain necessary. understand

    from you we expect


    Don’t mistake me for deliverance.
    I have conjured no rainbows in my lifetime
    I have not gathered elephants two by two
    nor crows, lions, dogs nor bears.
    I have forgotten how to count
    have erased multiplication and purification
    from memory. In my salt-soaked brain, I hold
    only one. I.

    On my raft – tall cedars joined with hair rope –
    I I I do nothing but float. Bob for fish bellies, banana clumps,
    a stray leg once in a while. Horrid, hideous – yes.
    I I I’ve grown exhausted with myself,
    with floods and the thousand shades
    composing each hour of each endless day.
    Everything comes to nothing
    in the end.

    I did try, at first.
    Bread for the girls who ventured into the streets.
    A dollar here, a dollar there to get a pregnant woman out
    when there was still an out to get to.
    But I am not a brave man.
    God does not speak to me.

    In every man’s life there comes a time
    to pull the blinds,
    lock the door.

    The Beginning

    That first spring, no ominous sign.
    Crows squawked, continued
    to eye the world. They carried their days
    like cherry twigs. Rain washed the
    blossoms along the gutters and all the earth moved
    within softened veins, spilling into,
    flushing out, salmon steering towards the sea.

    My daughter, though, was born finless.

    Eddies caught her – one by one caught all the stillborn daughters,
    pinned them under water and rock:
    we could not save them. Then the sun flared.

    We gnawed our own skin, cut our leaking breasts.
    We raged at doctors, who could not

    Conception I


    Leave the cuttings on the counter,
    the dish rag in the sink.
    Go out from the city to a rain-dry plain.


    Your romances
    do not matter now.
    Think about consequence.

    Barren the Fury
    by Brenda Leifso
    $20.00, paperback, 96 pp.
    Pedlar Press, May 2015

  • Brenda Leifso is an award-winning author, the recipient of an MFA in Creative Writing (among other degrees), an editor, the president of a national poetry magazine, and a communications consultant and editor for a global NGO specializing in the rights of women and the working poor. She's also the mother of three children who inspire her to work for beauty, creativity and the rights of women and children worldwide.

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