Brina Platt was born in Lincoln City, Oregon. USA in 1994. She has devoted her writing to raising awareness of mental illness and the escapism to be found in travelling. Her poems have been published in Esprit Magazine and Ripple Magazine. She is currently working on an MFA at Kingston University.
As a Consequence of
In the hallway my father is a long
Sigh as he decides whether to
Enter my room. The dog ate the lights—or maybe that was me.
I wonder if my mother draws music notes on the floor
From the shadow of the cell’s bars— rumor says a caged
Songbird doesn’t sing. In the darkness I rummage through her things:
A golden coin my father later pawns for money,
A half-used bottle of perfume, matches, a crinkled cigarette
Carton, a strand of hair I floss my teeth with
Because we can’t afford toothpaste. Every month
We receive the same automatic voicemail:
“This is UGI calling to inform you that—”
I eat them too and only incoherent garble
Comes from my stomach, or perhaps it’s a hunger
Intercom and I swallow a bucket of spit. The pain is empty and constant,
Fear does not have a taste when forced down the
Throat. Fear smells like cat’s piss outside
My room; my father drinks wine resembling piss so I can’t eat
That too and I wonder if I lit a match would we see light again?
My brother squeezes through a mouse hole one day
And never returns. I hear him in the wall, and wonder if he
Has any light, maybe he has eaten the electrical wires.
I think about if I, too, could escape,
Except I already ate the matches for warmth.
My father whispers, “How much longer?”
We don’t talk about prison in our house.
My mother calls somedays, five minutes that spark.
I close my eyes— those moments satisfy us for now.
Photos from Kanab, Utah
i. Mountain face: August
Even with the threat of torrential downpour
And rock slide, tourists collect in
Barely-moving vehicles (some stand on
The opposite brink, taking the same
Picture again and again).
The heat holds us still,
Melting our tires. For a moment
The rocks beside my car move
Like waves: a stream of red, and orange
And white. I reach out to feel the current
Rushing passed before crawling forward.
Perspiration is the only liquid
In this dehydrated landscape.
ii. Dusk, highway
The mountains reach
For heaven in the rearview mirror.
If only they knew, like the wild bay
And palomino mustangs racing
In the distance that beauty is here,
On this unlit highway. In an hour
Night stars will shimmer like long-lost
Pearls crying for discovery.
iii. Morning, the shop owner
She laughs, arid like the land
Around me and says—
They call this place
‘Little Hollywood’ but no one
Makes it. There are no
Second chances here.