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February 8, 2010

by Harriet Brown

in my forties I forgot how to sleep
the sun rose and set and rose and I
wandered the house like a madwoman
my eyeballs were hot in my burning face
I would never be young again

I roamed the house, weeping
I was full of a feeling my body
remembered from childhood
my mind beat in waves, my skin
radiated heat from the inside out

in the mirror my hair had that same
little flip on one side that would not
lay down, that would never lay down,
as if that unplanned curl was all
that was left of my small and tender self,
my small face alive in the camera’s
fast-blinked eye

and aren’t we all like that, really—
burning and love-crazed
in the night, so relieved
when the light finally comes back
that we’ll do anything at all—
and we do—to keep it?

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Harriet Brown’s poems have appeared in many magazines, including Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and Indiana Review. Her nonfiction appears in the New York Times and a slew of other magazines. She also writes books: her next one will appear in September 2010, and will be a family memoir about anorexia. She’s an assistant professor of magazine journalism at Syracuse University and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College in poetry. She has a blog called Feed Me!

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  1. February 8, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I could feel the heat behind my eyes as I read this. Thanks, Harriet. I love getting my guts stirred.

  2. February 9, 2010 at 7:26 am

    Aw, thanks, Judy!

  3. February 19, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    I love this poem. It has the fevered feel of something spoken plainly in the middle of the night, in the midst of sleep or trance.

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