February 2002

Fleda Brown


Fleda Brown's most recent book, The Devil's Child, was published in 1999 by Carnegie Mellon University Press. Her new manuscript, Breathing in, Breathing Out has just won the Philip Levine Poetry Prize and will be published by Anhinga Press in 2003. She directs the Poets in the Schools program at the University of Delaware and is Poet Laureate of Delaware.
Road to Damascus 

Paul, dust flying, pretty sure of himself,
but beginning, say, to feel the possibility of change.
A swing vote. You know what's coming:
the blinding light, angels sliding down,
scuffing their wings.
Megaphone voice, quotation marks.
But when he opens his eyes, nothing,
of course, because you have not come to the "inner
meaning." Frazzled, irreversibly shot through
with someone or something's idea
of the miraculous, he looks up where stars
used to be.

It's later, when Ananias places his hands
on Paul's eyes that the scales fall, translucent
as fish scales, fluttering and shimmering,
and behold: the something inside the nothing.
If life's short, it's just been doubled
by a before and an after.
What did you ever yearn for but to arrive
at a climax? Could be anything,
as long as it's something. The world doesn't
have to be footnoted with metaphor:
listen, the whole thing could be metaphor.
In any case, after that, you believe
something can happen. You try to reproduce it.
You try the same road, similar weather conditions,
you fix on the same thoughts. Pebbles
and sand again.
Anyone who needs food or drink
or encouragement, you think, okay, maybe
if I give up things, if I get down to nothing,
like being senseless and blind,
maybe then.



Fleda Brown: Poetry
Copyright 2002 The Cortland Review Issue 19The Cortland Review