Breaking Up

I dreamt that you asked for a divorce
or that we'd already split up; either
way, you weren't around. I cried
in a bathroom-blue bathroom stall,
thumbing through my phone and calling
any former boyfriend I could think of who

might pick up or who
wouldn't ask too many questions of a nearly divorced
woman. Someone who would drink whiskey with me and call
you terrible names to make me laugh, either
an asshat or a man child, and maybe he'd stall
a little and try to kiss me and then stop, afraid I'd cry

and ruin the whole thing. I called Andrew first, crying
(not the Andrew you're thinking of--the one who
I never actually dated because he always stalled
when I asked how he felt, forcing me to divorce
myself from the idea that he was my boyfriend). Either
I was, that I talked him through his parents' divorce,
that once my car stalled

on the highway and he fixed my tire, that we kissed in a stalled
canoe, paddles dragging in the lakebed, that I called
him by his last name. I left town after that summer like a divorcee
and I know he didn't cry.
Next I called the guy who looks like you but with a different nose. Either

version of you would do in the dream, either
nose I'd press to mine and pretend he was the real you, stalling
in the blurry moments close to the face, when I couldn't see who
was who and trying not to call
out the wrong name (his was Adam). He didn't know me enough to cry
when it was over. You can't divorce

a one night stand. By now in the dream, I hoped either you'd call
and change your mind, stall the paperwork, or cry
into your cereal, or have amnesia, say who asked for a divorce?

On Being an Angel

(after the photography of Francesa Woodman)

I confuse
everything
for myself.
Even these spoons,
forks melting
from paint on paper
to solid metal
on a windowsill.
Under the paper
in shadow I hold
a fork, palm up,
wrist bent
unnaturally. It's
all unnatural
and floating
in plasma
blurred, falling
down
through a dress.
 
Susan Elliott Brown's chapbook The Singing Is My Favorite Part will be published by Etched Press in August 2015. Her poetry has appeared in the The Best American Poetry blog,Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry, and Atticus Review, among others. She is a Ph.D. student in the Center for Writers at USM. 

Susan Elliott Brown's chapbook The Singing Is My Favorite Part will be published by Etched Press in August 2015. Her poetry has appeared in the The Best American Poetry blog,Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry, and Atticus Review, among others. She is a Ph.D. student in the Center for Writers at USM.