You were [a]live [b]efore the [c]rush
of [d]eath—the door through which you
[e]ntered your whole [f]amily [g]one
from this living land. [H]ear the sound
[i]n the absence of sound. The [j]ust
disappeared silence of footsteps quic[k]ening
[l]ike a child’s run. [M]ake your way
through the tiled halls, the [n]uminous shadows
at the end, [o]pen the door you find, [p]eeling
back this door of a [q]uiet [r]oom, with nothing in it
but a chair for you to [s]it. [T]rust the smooth s[u]rface
of the [w]ood e[x]actly how [y]ou remembered it—
memory so strong you are haunted more than ama[z]ed.
Aaron Brown is the author of the poetry collection Acacia Road, winner of the 2016 Gerald Cable Book Award (Silverfish Review Press). He has been published in World Literature Today, Tupelo Quarterly, Waxwing, Cimarron Review, and Transition, among others. Brown grew up in Chad and now lives in Kansas, where he is a professor of writing at Sterling College. He holds an MFA from the University of Maryland. On his two poems in Collateral, Brown writes, "I've challenged myself in my newer work to navigate dislocation that is not just geographical but spiritual, and to add formal characteristics to my poetry that mirror the breakdown of narrative and memory.” You can read more about Aaron at www.aaronbrownwriter.com.