Marion Brown

An Old Water Mill, Cornelis Willaerts, Dutch, pen and brown and black ink with gray and brown wash and blue and green chalk over graphite on laid paper

An Accident in Thuringia

Urgroßvater, my grandmother’s father,
drowned swimming in a mill pond.
As foreman, he was summoned late,
must have run out the door while his two
little girls slept. After refitting a gear,

he stepped from the mill into a summer
night. Black sky enfolded the foreman
and the pond. He measured his muscle
against the weave of water and what
will be, the heave of a current

answering to its own fall. I know
the pull of wading into cold, the exhale
when I relinquish weight and float,
letting wind and an owl’s shriek go—
bare body as fluid as water.

A lifelong resident of New York State, Marion Brown lives in Yonkers. Her chapbooks, published by Finishing Line Press, are Tasted and The Morning After Summer. Last year, her poems appeared in Guesthouse, 2 Horatio, Kestrel, Gyroscope Review, and the Women’s Review of Books. She serves on the Advisory Committee of Slapering Hol Press, the Program Committee of the Hudson Valley Writers Center, and the National Council of Graywolf Press.

Next poem

Previous poem

Spring 2021