from "Euphoric Rose"

Laynie Browne


According to the same laws by which stars shine I have this fantasy of we, space to spread out,

unbothered by bodies of bright ships, waters or waking.


Walking a path defines eyes stuck beneath map, beneath children, between paginated



I open the door to the sea, one kiss on each cheek. You don't know me.


A wisp floating was never your idea of a girl returning books to metal shelves. The baby deer

cries loudly until I turn my head. A child screams and a mother tries, but fails, to ignore her.


Cries for who you were, who one might be. Eventually she picks up the child.


I've put on my hat and glasses in the seaside library. Everything is too bright, except my

decision to begin earlier, to rush into language.


They said good morning fondly as if feeling were not invisible. A circle punctuated by

wonderful births and implausible endings.








A color I see clairvoyantly , another name to say, my finger is banded in miniscule points of light


Every night your body fills with stars and reclines. I find myself along the edge of your

breakage, between one inhalation and the next.


I'm here, fully awake, alive for love


In stages I move closer and closer to the land. First in my cottage, then walking toward the



Looking out on the sound, then, just outside the library on the deck, then out onto the knoll

an old wooden chair


Until there is very little distance between my body and the water. Only air and light. A few

feet further and I would be submerged


One oak edges the water, madronna and evergreen


Eventually I sit exactly on the earth, in an impression in the rock lined by gold grass, where I

sat yesterday and the day before


Beneath the banded sky, though stars are not visible in daylight we know they are present 


They speak to the water, one tiny moon, and movement along the surface of light








Light frequencies of the flower, that which is possible in multiple.


In the morning they appear as rapidly moving white ripples. At night, when reflected by

moonlight they appear silver. Have I ever seen this exact shade of blue?


I move to the ground so as to be closer to the color.


Gold moss, empty stalks of hawkflower, past blossoming, and sheep sorrel. Pale green lichen

on charcoal stone.


Rocks in the water are sometimes birds; bull kelp appears to be the head of a seal. Today,

blue on the water is tomorrow.


Blue multiples scattering across what I imagine to be the brain, electrical impulse, firing 


This impression in the earth was made for pause, one location of stillness.


Blue electrifies mind, escorts us toward an edge, the place I'd like to exist, not glimmering

surface but under the lid of the eye-water-retina, iris.


A boat moves past and toward the future. A figure stands on deck, an arboreal line, with

leaf-mast raised.


Blue continues to explode along the surface, like the after image of pleasure.


The closer we are to the land the more we enter mythology. Spin- with liquid color. 


Blue lights almost touching- now- leaping up onto the knoll to populate shores.








A place where bodies are defined, a small bud emerges, as if cupped by hands


To write to and for and with and from is euphoric rose


To write in company is "we"


Bodily company of poem


Illusion that anyone has written in a solitary state is forgetting plant intelligence


Your listening eyes opened


Words scrawled in indistinct places I did not know I contained


Euphoric rose lives in your hand as it opens and breathes


Rose in palm, in eye, dreams


I look up away from the page, and see you for the first time


Listening with gaze until past-future unfurls





"Euphoric Rose" is inspired by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge's book Hello, the Roses. Italic text

(in the first line on every section) is from the title poem.

Back to The Issue | Back to the Top

Author Bio: Laynie Browne’s recent books include You Envelop Me (Omnidawn 2017), Periodic Companions (Tinderbox 2018) and The Book of Moments (Presses universitaires de rouen et du havre, 2018). She teaches at University of Pennsylvania and at Swarthmore College.