Saturday Jan 19

Simoneau-Poetry Brian Simoneau’s first book won the De Novo Prize and will be published by C&R Press in 2014. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boulevard, Cave Wall, The Collagist, Crab Orchard Review, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, Southern Humanities Review, and other journals. A recipient of a work-study scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, he lives in Connecticut with his wife and two young daughters.

Poem in which My Brother and I Manage Not to Laugh Out Loud

Branches groaning
                        in the breeze, our father
and his father pruned
                        the limbs they feared
would come down
                        on their own. Not noticing
we’d brought the iced tea
                        they talked through teeth
and clenched their tools
                        and swore at lifeless wood.
As daylight drove away
                        the cool of shade
the chainsaw coughed
                        and stopped like a curse
in the throat, clash
                        over which way to cut
cut short when half
                        the tree came crashing
through the fence and            
                        shattered glass slid down
the pickup’s hood.
                        We learn from our mistakes
new ways to make
                        mistakes. In a day
or two the sunlight
                        pouring through their hole
would parch what little
                        lawn we had, a yellow
patch that burned each
                        summer when all the trees
but one grew green
                        with leaves. At the picnic table
we waited for silence
                        to break as beads
of sweat puddled around
                        the untouched pitcher
and slowly dried
                        in the stern light of day.