Poetry by Brendan Sherry

Art by James Scales / @jameswadescales



For L, To Depart


She said, Mother lives are absorbing these boys 
These boys I've been with 
You could hear the sounds of traffic or was it wind— 
Is it absorbed, what is the word close to stolen 
As it describes fireflies—that slow going up, down 
And the night is peaceful— 
There's a streetlight there, my brother waiting under it 





He said, You're not going to joke these problems away 
Criminals in a kid's life 
That's at least what industry knowledge has shown— 
It was easy to understand when Eminem sampled Dream On 
The cupids moving from did someone push the mobile 
Or is it the air conditioning— 
Did I wake up so uneasy at times 
Despite the neighbors' puppies, songbirds on the balcony 



In the Pines


A squirrel in the roof is out of sequence with the very difficult  
Back and forth, i.e., pecans, the mountain 
Quick white belly  
Rainbowshaped jumps, not delinquent, not afraid  
He said, There's nesting material I could try to get rid of— 
If he chewed the wire of that floodlight the nesting material's a fire hazard—
His name is buried under the feathers but not gone 
It keeps waking me up—the bad house inside my better one





Go with yes, our wellness has held, not counting the glue— 
I had a dream my dog was running by the street, that kind of worry 
But it was not the cars it was the storm 
It was about to rain 
If you don't believe me, look—this is the shape of rising water
Police at the door 
This house where the sewer line runs right up underneath 



Madison Warren


She said, You can tell he doesn't unfold that flag a lot 
The square pleats all over it 
Probably hides it in a glove compartment
She said, If he kept it in his house it wouldn't be so folded 
We talked about heraldry vs. proclamation— 
Is it only exterior or does it bend inward 
Thinking about that house and who is inside it 
And the light of the house and the need for houses


Brendan Sherry lives in Greeneville, TN. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, New South, Birdfeast, Guesthouse, and elsewhere.