Molly Brodak

The Glacier
Issue One
Fall 2022

Fresh Accusations

We have been so much. And what has been deleted!
 
Especially what’s opulent. A yawn.
A warm January. A nice man. He had something in mind.
I did not choose to be lined with filth.
 
I wanted to place some colors against the water. I remember not answering.
Leaking leads nowhere. I ate quietly. Small amounts of anything I wanted.
The door to the building where I lived with hundreds of people was propped open.
 
Dead bodies sat in chairs. I denied wanting.
 
I denied to myself a feeling. I used white. It ached. I let it ache.
 
I seem fine. On the map I marked all the lakes along the way. My husband.
I collected pinecones aimlessly. Where we had walked and argued.
Now I am quiet. I have split myself. For love. Not for great art.
Not for peace. Not for everyone. I have wasted time. A flag I didn’t recognize.
 
A swarming field where I looked for something and found nothing.
I will keep me away from you, I think. I’ll appear to myself. In the ice.
Even in animals’ bodies. For love.
 
All eyes seem like glass eyes, I have heard.
 
It is still winter here. I have worked a long time.
Two hours away my husband lives. The loud cry, or laugh?
It is not for everyone.

The Come From

One feeds oneself
 
the just-for-nows, beans
and lay-downs, blotted retrospections,
 
until giddy pastel trees and dove-lowered crowns descend,
next month,
I bet.
 
The main bird chants
and the faint bird mocks back.
It’s your mind, christ,
the leaking between them.
 
The bowl’s bottom trills when I scrape it.
Hunger just lifts one’s curtains.
 
That sharp quality
of a man’s quaking paw
 
on a lady’s yellow ruffle edge—
what do I know of love,
 
that which issued
from a cold corner of history
 
(what fools! the key edict
uttered over our foreselves)
 
when some bean
split his seam
 
turning sex over,
mindwise,
one too many times.

I Felt Oppressed

There were crystal facets. Small
 
living lights.  Sky-blue cottons.
 
The past on any leaf. Final signals.
 
Chalk-like chests. Plumes
 
of pale orange smoke.
 
Bones so old.
 
Doors so open
 
and the dark dark
 
fatty green of long forests,
 
green like the brain.

No Nothing

In the bottom of a rowboat I awoke oarless:
a flap of a shadow overhead, a sharp bark,
 
no life vest, no reed trap:  nap-worn,
studying the shore for motion, maybe help.
 
First, willows, then sycamore, grotesque oak,
and then all of it, the glassy mind of nature
 
blank to suffering, blank to luck, the hot felt
of sun like the first bald fact to render us
 
to each other. I knew I would drift until I hit.
I listened to the huge stone of my old self.

We Lie Down in the Clearing

Part of you is text and locks
between other parts. Like a string
can be wound, no matter what.
Rock and snake, each each other’s
festoon. Low mountains feel alien,
even upon them, even a foot from
their clear rivulets and combed grass.
If a thing is alive it is weak.
Unholy kind of help, forgiveness is so
soft, so easy to reject. A cloth
over a face is a face. Brooms forget,
good ones especially. Moss spores
branch and die, go solid as trash,
back into atoms, some soil, blue
with dark space, small in lungs
and hovels. You know, neglect
is liberty, until it is not liberty,
then it is really very much liberty.
Like water lathers around boulders,
recognizing itself for once, astonished.
Good love creeps up. I am awake but it
is evening. I hear your name peal
no name at all. The only name.

Code for Day One

In the very middle of the back bridge. A call. An unknown word.
Blood jumbles. Sun pushes cells. Still unknown. But love is a pattern.
Me against me. Which part is afraid? Which part is me. Waves.
Outcropping of sand, rushing. Pick a foot. Left. Ok now pick a foot. A nag
on the scale of a rodent. Rushing down. Vinegar smell. A sturdy truck. Water
rises into the air. Mixes with dust. Flies over. Water falls from the air.
Particles merge brainlessly. Door to indoors. Grid of floor of Laundromat. 
Pamphlet. Pink nails. Watching justice shows. A sad song by a man.
Imagine a concrete floor painted dark blue. A soft chair hated 
by its owner. Prickling. While you are asleep. Before you awake. 
It comes on. Intermittent gifts. Old thread. Hand hairs. A girl you hurt. 
On purpose. Her irritating innocence. A fertile emerald. Fake. But perfect.
Dream of walls, men in a line, erect. Mouse fur. Wafers. Ice water. 
Key cards, magnets, gasoline. The going. A lever everyone touches. Drugs.
Your particular gate. Lipstick. Small panels of talking, panes of talking,
cards of talking, given and changed, turned over, stacked. Hoped for.
Weak upper half. Weird lower half. Fitting fabric over it. Warming.
Peeling clothes off. Gripping fat parts. Licking dark things.
Lick. Tart. Look. Rapid, with eyes closed. Guts slosh.
Sound. Sound. Good sound. War. Good war.
Hold, then white gloves. Text. Texture of baked apples. Idiot matter.
Column of fog. Fake smile. Nice though. Authentic now.
Shifting upper arms. Dent in chest. Genius matter. Singing. 
Can you see down the line. Way down the line. Past you. Past past. I see you.
Inconvenient lamp switch. Saggy cushions. Boy odor. Dim. Never this happy.
Never. First, the wristbone. The crown. The god point. Note it. Press it
permanently. Stain of purity. It braids in. It grows over. Absorbs beams.
Concentrate. It funnels light. Then fractures light. It shows. It rations
just enough nothing. Think of the staircase, for example. Box
a word and leave it and mysticism creeps in. Pages so thin 
you can read the one behind. Internal. Near to where a tense hand 
reaches into a black sweater. It finds perfect working organs
being poisoned, soft muscles overtop, sweet thin skin overtop,
benevolent hairs, a radiation, and a want for the hand, and a
revulsion, a hunk of fear, a revulsion and want for the hand,
a secret small light from this torso no one has seen before,
dear as hell, a portal really, minute, clean bright pain, joy itself,
and they both look and straighten up and laugh.

Sieve

Do you live like hands, blind
and exact, dirty as knives
and as needy, weak, the body’s
weird dwindling finish, lost 
but to each other, of pinks
and old threats, universe 
to each other, unknown 
to each other, can I price that,
can I lift away still attached,
can I clap for my money?

Monuments

The surface of a pond affirms a surface of the atmosphere.
It rained here at night, twelve hundred years ago, on granite, shrubs,
sleeping reptiles, so plainly. Minnows feel the pond grow. Us
in a bed, my petty wishes listening. You say nothing and say nothing
twice. How a spot bores a pit to light, pale light under rocks, an utterness.
I didn’t know I was. I never saw me. Rain begins like pointless talking. 
It dotes, and catalogues surface in gloss. A kind of sleep. You show
me your canines. A mindless churning in the atmosphere, an urge,
my welling urge to eat your body, my own fright and mute law.
From a slow twelve thousand years. Then towers, the moon’s 
habitat. Eels in muck. A new white unearthed in the Cyclades. The skin 
you are kissing. A great hall ground down to it slabs, blushing.

Ars Poetica

Floor and ceiling and around and around of blood,
good blood. 

Some years I’d wince in mom’s hug. 
Some years, sturdy chairs, some years
I’d just sew,

double occult
in bed
in night,
and finally
not waiting.

There is a bell to ring.
At first it does not ring.
At first it does not ring.

Fruit

Some fought for their lives,

others hid,

yet others carried themselves
across the uprising on daylong clouds
of delusion. These

you’d see peeling their last
banana, not admiring

the crepe print white flesh,
almost scentless,

having traveled
aboard truck and truck

to cold Toronto,
to be recklessly

unappreciated
a little longer.

Mail

Actually I don’t feel like talking.
Daylight sinks 
on its cold coil,

every serpent is tucked up.
Actually I have never heard 
my own voice. Elaborate

survivors can’t carry everything 
in one kind of body, see: coupling, photos.

Fire opposite of trailhead.
Stripes of fog behind the unclimbable
ridge where we once
grew tired and quit. Data
spread between us, even.
Ardor slips in degrees.

Photos opposite of everything.
Photos melted back into ideas
then back into nothingness.

They were once paper
messages

to drop
in a box

then hope they’d ferry
to the ideal reader,

who once bet my voice
sounds nice.

I still have a photo
of a donkey braying.

A tin sacred heart clattering in a willow
with lance-wound, etc,
a bird boring into a saguaro
between spines, a photo of that too.

Where was I? The hope,

dropping it all in a dark box, hope,
the purpose of that. 

Circuitry

A lot of noise
around pain—

most of it
unilluminating,

some of it
poisonous:

that anything ought
to come back to you.

Space itself is expanding.
The marshmallow white puppy

you rescued last week comes
dragging in a black coyote carcass.

You shoo
them off.

They don’t 
come back.

MOLLY BRODAK published a full-length collection of poetry, A Little Middle of the Night (University of Iowa Press, 2010), a memoir, Bandit: A Daughter’s Memoir (Grove Atlantic, 2016), and three chapbooks of poetry. Her most recent collection, The Cipher, won the 2019 Pleiades Press Editors Prize. Before her death in 2020, she taught writing and literature at numerous institutions, including Emory University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Georgia College and State University. An accomplished baker and recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Brodak’s poems appeared in such publications as Granta, Guernica, and Poetry Magazine.


Artwork by Jack Felice.
© The Glacier 2022. All rights reserved.