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Red Paint

brandel france de bravo / poem

Course Correction

A time will come when you no longer lower yourself, sit on the ground

comfortably, when you decide to keep your distance because to let down

your guard might mean never getting up, the earth’s low murmur deafening.

So, you stay out of earshot. You will want nothing more than to picnic 

on the grass, basket of gingham friends, stoned and lolling on a blanket,

blades tickling your ankles as you munch on dragonflies, slurp clouds, neither

last night’s rain nor dog shit impediment to a worm’s eye view, glimpse

of starling tongue. But worms don’t have eyes and the bones that carry you

carry earth, not molten but marrow at their center. You will amble upright

on their axis around the park’s green heart, willing another lap, the asteroid

to course correct, not collide, matter with matter, lycra with dirt, flames

oozing, and soot ace-bandaging the sun, a labyrinth of underground caves

forming like scars, sinkholes tunneling to lightless rivers full of blind fish, 

submerged signs with skull and crossbones: Divers, enter at your own risk.


Brandel France de Bravo's next collection of poems, Locomotive Cathedral, will be published by Backwaters Press/University of Nebraska in March 2025. She is the author of two previous poetry books: Provenance, and the chapbook Mother, Loose. Her poems and essays have appeared in 32 Poems, Barrow Street, Conduit, The Georgia Review, Seneca Review, Southern Humanities Review and elsewhere. She teaches a meditation program developed at Stanford University called Compassion Cultivation Training.


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