Back to Issue Twenty-One.

double portrait



You are my personal Twitter.
Everything’s meant for you,
my single large following.
Every text or tap, every language trap.
I’ve walked so far

down your street,
I might as well keep walking.
How much can I say before I get to the end?
I swing the loaf of bread.
This film isn’t French

isn’t film.
It’s French fly season.
Above your bowl, the swarm.
Above your bowl, I’m warm.
I’ve sung so far down your throat
my mind’s well—

Keep singing!
Was everything worth it, up till now?
Can I account for my comma? My !
A comma mistake: everyone’s making it.
I come in and take

your apple, nipple.
Stand closer. We know not to
waste a single space but neither of us is sure
about all the breaks—how much
does this count?

We eat up
the hour lie down liecloser nearly time
for me to be leaving. Our pastpastime.
An hour lie between our you&me:
it’s only you & me.



double portrait



The likelihood I’ll talk to you
today is very small.
I’ll shut in. My mind will loop
some pictures on the wall.

Today is very small:
a matchbook with an open flap,
a picture on the wall,
a postage stamp, a pocket map.

A matchbook with an open flap
won’t bring back the bar,
nor the postcard stamp and pocket map
we bought. We got that far:

the back of the day-lit bar,
the third round of G&Ts.
You bought. We got that far-
away look, two divers in a sea.

The third round of G&Ts;
a few mean words.
Look away. Two divers in a sea,
no lamp or tether cords.

A few mean words:
the writing on the wall.
No lamp or tether cords.
Today is very small.


Brittany Perham is the author of Double Portrait (W. W. Norton, 2017), which received the Barnard Women Poets Prize; The Curiosities (Free Verse Editions, 2012); and, with Kim Addonizio, the collaborative chapbook The Night Could Go in Either Direction (SHP, 2016). She is a Jones Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow. She lives in San Francisco.

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