DIESE NACHT – Stephanie K Brownell


Lights like any city
your city made of models
and when I left it, mountains,
music marking the tempo of earth.

You don’t notice the shape
of the roof or the mountain
the painting on the stucco wall.
Your city is only beautiful from above

when everything is small.
Your city is a duckling.
The sky is what I should look at,
the sky that is the same sky

in America, in France, in
Morocco, where we dreamed
in the desert in an unfamiliar
quality of light.


Hundreds of years ago
when your people came
to the land I wrongly call mine,
they found it familiar.
Hundreds of years ago
they made houses and traditions
because they didn’t like travel
so much either, because
they loved their mother and
their motherland and vor zwanzig
Jahren your mother sang you
awake across an ocean and
hundreds of years later
my mother woke me
to the same song doch du
darfst nicht traurig sein.


I don’t notice the sky
when I’m looking at the trees

the leaves that                     branch
like spines, yours still taller.

You are a thousand trees
marching by my train, trees

that live at impossible         angles, trees
whose roots are impossibly

strong, trees whose mothers
sing them awake with our song.

You marched while       you slept while
I watched        from the train.

But you didn’t notice. Diese Nacht
blieb dir verborgen, rooted as you are.

Yours is an impossible angle,

looking down.




Stephanie K. Brownell is a writer, artist, and educator based in Boston. She is a 2018 Sewanee Writers Conference Tennessee Williams Scholar. Previous poems appear in Typishly Literary Journal and her plays have been produced across the country. Find her on Twitter [https://twitter.com/skbrownell] or her website [http://skbrownell.com/].


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