Two poems by Heather Brown Barrett

A Vulgar Mouth

It’s not real


never said aloud

how not to bow down or harden

into ardor; how chafed

knuckles and marred knees 

do not make a prayer, 


an undoing, and years 

to weigh 

the demon on a shoulder, each 


disappointed in its accusatory tally, 

 tugging the corners of bowels 

like soured taffy; 

how mutinous a habit, speaking 

in sign language to the cold 

belly of a rigid beast; 




Heavy Upheaval, I Am

not the victim 

                    laying prone in a pool of my own steak 

                    blood for months          years

not the wound

                    my open mouth 

                    oozes purulent amber

not the truth 


                    in a conspiracy of limbs

not the apology 

                    sidestepping truth 

                    holding a grocery bag of excuses

but I am

                    still leaking, not the shame, but what 

                    it forges—


Heather Brown Barrett is a lifelong poet and a member of Hampton Roads Writers. She lives in southeastern Virginia with her writer husband and their young son. Her poetry has been published by Superpresent Magazine, Backwards Trajectory, and by SEZ Publishing.