Brenda Taulbee


Today I glanced out my window
into the neighbor’s patch of sky

and noticed for the first time,
framed against the stark cloudlessness

of blue a cluster of fruit ripened
to bursting, the thick spill of seeds from

deep red seam, glimpse of yellow flesh
on the branches of some tree whose name

I do not and will never know, though
I am certain it exists, and there is peace

in this quiet knowledge that they
have been there long before my notice,

blossoms tangling hungry into the weight
of this day where they droop wearily

against one another, as if asking me
to take them in my two open hands

and drench my fists in the sweetness
of their surrender.

December 21, 2012
for Mo


The world was supposed to end
the day we met, but
it didn’t.

And I hate to
admit it,

but I think we were both
disappointed. Still thirsty
for apocalypse, still
thirsty for the end
of every
dive bar
blurred eyes

You and I— becoming
too hard
too fast.

Afraid the past might
catch us up,
unwilling to trust
something so fickle
as future


I have moved you into and out of
three different houses. Carted boxes
all over the city, become
intimate with the weight
of your living. The ache of it
deeper than muscle.


packing those boxes
one last time. Carefully sealing inside
the books and clothes and memories

the guilt and shame and history
and finally, your swollen
tender, beating heart.

We could use a brick to weight the U-Haul pedal.

Watch the whole thing
bubble and sink to the silted
bottom of the Willamette. Walk home
to sit cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by
all your new


Can you imagine anything so empty?
Can you imagine anything so free?


If I could give you anything

it would be
a room to come home to

in the house of
your own life.

A heart like a
hardwood door–
something ancient,
and sturdy;

something to withstand
the beating.

that requires permission
to enter.

Brenda Taulbee transplanted her queer/romantic/bleeding heart from Portland, Ore., to San Diego, where she is currently an MFA candidate at San Diego State University. Her first full-length poetry collection, The Art of Waking Up (GobQ/Reprobate) premiered at the 2015 LA Times Book Festival. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including The Inflectionist Review, Grist, NAILED and The Unchaste Anthology. She enjoys writing in the sunshine with her faithful feline editor, Murphy’s Law.

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