UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY
MASHA UDENSIVA BRENNER
Into The Fog
I drifted there between trucks
riding to their morning deliveries.
The driver wondered why I wanted the window down.
Fresh air, I said.
But the fumes--
I hate them more than the next person.
But the chill--
It was too hot, I tugged at my scarf.
The lights flickered along the BQE
instead of stars.
The trucks rumbled,
announcing something, but what
I couldnít tell.
The lights announced factories,
And yesterday my friendís boyfriend announced
Quits is a hard thing to hear.
I could barely even hear moving on
Like a shark fin
it erased the empire state building.
The plane engine floats above the mountains of Utah,
a blimp. Or a missile weíre about to drop for testing.
T/R Deactivated. T/R Activated. Caution.
We are cautious. Cautious enough to have two
warheads for every target in Russia.
The sun hurts my eyes, but
I shouldnít wear sunglasses inside.
Itís the light reflecting from the snow on the mountaintops.
The ice in the Arctic is melting.
I saw it on CNN in the waiting room.
People are turning their heat down,
using oil from restaurants. I saw it,
grease floating in vats.
The plane engine floats like a blimp or a weapon.
There is a fin, a sharkís one.
I canít watch aluminum tremble without shuddering,
Once, I reached across the aisle and grabbed a strangerís hand,
I havenít held hands in a while. They say give it time.
I have. Now that heís holding someone elseís hand I feel
my own might suffice.
Thereís a road through the sand. I canít imagine crossing it,
this vast expanse. Broken circles some of it.
From here, it might as well be the moon.
Its fin erased the empire state building and now
there is nothing to erase. Just space.
Iíll land early but thereís no way to tell her so
there will be more waiting. Sheíll show up
in her black car covered in tears. Will thank me for coming
Iíll tell her that itís good for her to be alone, to forget the
betrayal part and focus on growing. Sheíll listen
but only in parts. Then meet her old boyfriend for a walk,
(the one she left for the one who left her.) Theyíll
talk about the past and sheíll look at his face
and see her reflection. Sheíll like what she sees.
I want to be shaken,
that naked feeling like a pin prick.
I couldnít sleep last night.
Tossed after reading a poem I liked.
Feeling what she felt, I thought.
My eyes closed just for a moment
suddenly thereís a grid below me.
Is this where they plan to drop the blimp?
Coated in fine blue paint.
River snakes below, brings
disorder to an ordered world. Green, green,
beige, a reddish clay. Triangle, rectangles, pentagons,
like computer chips. Is this where they got the idea?
Velvet draped carelessly over careful hills. Sometimes it pays
to be careless. My bladder aches,
the seatbelt sign has taped red tape.
Him holding someone elseís hand I finally feel that my own hand is enough.
A careless lake. Endless terrain of peaks
and valleys. Small settlements. My bladder aches.
Weíre early. I hate to be early on principle.
Sometimes I make distractions,
carve off the minutes, so I donít show up
and stand leaning stupidly against buildings, trying to look
at my watch so I donít catch your eye.
Is that a radio station or a museum? Metal and white
from the ground like dull needles. They seek
Please donít fall! Please donít fall!
San Francisco is flat
Grass stroked onto the fields
with an oil brush. Waters divided evenly.
Are slabs of concrete dividing it?
I can see to the bottom. The green mud, but
birds float on top of it. White white.
This must be the longest bridge Iíve seen,
mountains rise from the mist.
the cityís in front of them.
Oh the trembling! The blimp
almighty. Go! Perform your fight! Conquer
the city. Sweep the mist away.
Maybe itís a space ship Iím sitting on.
across green water time.
The doom of it!
Masha Udensiva-Brenner was born in Moscow and immigrated to New Yor Shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. She grew up in Manhattan, but abandoned it for Brooklyn, where she lives with three roommates and a dog named Charlie Brown. She has just completed her MFA in fiction at the City College of New York and works at the Harriman Institute, a center for Russian, Eurasian and East-Central European studies at Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in *Promethean *and *The Harriman Review*.
She can be found online at mashaudensivabrenner.tumblr.com.
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