Open Space; Smoke

Evan Brown

Open Space


You were told it was healing

to climb above the valley and glimpse

the sun’s beginning, to feel the grass

ignite and glare at you, and maybe

even see the crude inter-

ruptions amalgamate, tuck

themselves away into other clefts

of mountains. You had never

been so close before

to the atmosphere’s easy

love-worn quilt.

As the sun distanced itself

from the edge, a world below

unrolled. The quilt did not–

don’t you dare leave that soft

detainment. Sometimes as the light

gathers, you can hear the arguments

of beetles, clicking about when pseudoclouds

of freezing jet fuel will take on

real clouds’ repose; where the tarnished

pennylike stacks from factory chimneys

will spill; how the place

we stand is wanted and seen

as vital earth, some productive

discharge in the name of


All this candor is hard

to walk back down from. You linger

up there, flickering in sunrise

like a pigeon’s plume, then you drift

down to your own dissolution. You have to

collect your gait, show your sober

face again as you bring the ring

back to the jeweler

after she says








How some of us carry on: quiet

kindling consonants

seeping under doors and

staggering into rooms,

feeling out the windows and walls

only to vanish. The suggestion

of your body once

lay cast in a sheet, your main points

plotted like a constellation:

shoulder, elbow, hipbone, knee, ankle.


I let you smolder there awhile until

the sounds of birds started from a wire.
You struggled your way into a hoodie.

Against window light, you were fundamental

outlines of anatomy.

Then your breath wept down

a pane of glass and all I could do

was face your hair, take it in my hands

and get everything going

in the right direction again.





Evan is a third year student at San Jose State University. He is studying to receive his BA in Technical/Professional writing. Evan enjoys reading and writing poetry whenever he can. He always aims to be true to what inspires him: namely, his home state of California, nature, and beauty in the mundane.