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Harboring the Criminal

Naturally, we offered him our best:
the bed, the girl, the fenced-in woods.
And my father not a talkative man.
Even our small-town sun was startled
by his bravura. They carried back
a deer, bleeding queenly on her tarp.
He disassociated head from trunk.
Such spunk proved beyond our imagining.
They bunked together like brothers.
The rooms thickened with pheromones.
My mother withdrew to her gardening
shed, where, frankly, she’d been happiest.
Wasps nested in the clouds of her hair.
We were glad to be rid of them.
In another poem, a girl goes missing.


Traveling Saleswomen

If the heart be not in the right
place, pack it, crate it, love it to peanuts

in the suitcase. Your valise:
comb, fume, mother’s portrait entombed. The ladies

sighed and flunked peculiar white flowers
in your wake. In the neighborhood, fruit is soothed

until still, painted rapt and juicy,
inevitable flies the only thing permitted move.  


Michelle Chan Brown’s Double Agent won the 2012 Kore First Book Award, judged by Bhanu Kapil. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Cimarron Review, The Missouri Review, Sycamore Review, Witness, and others. A chapbook, The Clever Decoys, is available from LATR Editions (2010). A Kundiman fellow, she lives in Washington, D.C., where she teaches, writes, and edits Drunken Boat. See also www.michellechanbrown.com.