Brittney Scott


There is always the shower,
flailing face first, a brief dance before
your teeth burst loose, neck snapping
lights-out style. The water descends,

it darkens around you.
Think about sockets, those friendly faces
grinning up from the baseboards.
All it takes is one wire’s wrongful rub

against another. A meeting between you
and a yardsale toaster warm under the weekend sun.
Is your basement dirt based?
Radon rises through your floor’s imperfections,

infests your body, enters
undetectable like the holy ghost, happiness,
those dreams you have of falling.
Bed linins are woven with formaldehyde,

a carcinogen which eventually fills you fully—
your lusty breakdown’s only preservative.
It’s coming, and you’re already floating off.
Your soft cavities will soften,
blood will clot against you.
The hoary oak drops its legacy

on the roof nightly, the damage it does
to silence, to forgetfulness,
your long standing denial
that unless you take an ax into its thick ringed trunk,

it will be here after you – the whole block,
fever, toxic plants, your pill bottles
expiring. All of it goes on without you.


There are two of you now,
your name appearing twice on my Gmail contact list.
And my laptop’s grinding brain
knows something of indecision and duality,
but this minor glitch rips
                                              open the space

between my reason and emotion.
In the time between our lunar distance,
I Google, follow, touch, star the moment
your emails enter my inbox. While Skyping, I read daily items
strewn behind your figure,
I read them as lonely
thrown bones.

While the miles spread over our bodies,
the re-runs end, the season
premiere of our favorite show gets TiVoed, and

every leaf falls from the late-night trees,
every leaf

flaunts its losing hand. In time,
you will tell me that you choose to be a better man.
By that you mean I am a bad decision, a negative
instead of a positive. Fault is funny, and faulty
and shifting beneath. All I have done
                                                                    undoes itself.

In the last snap-chat I sent, a monument
to impermanence, action without consequences,
moments placed outside of time
I am topless, winking,
my one eye already half-closed toward regret.


Brittney Scott
received her MFA from Hollins University. She is the 2012 recipient of the Joy Harjo Prize for Poetry as well as the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2014, Prairie Schooner, The New Republic, Narrative Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, North American Review, Crab Orchard Review, Poet Lore, New South, and elsewhere. Her fiction has appeared in Quarter After Eight. She teaches creative writing to adults, Girl-Scouts, and high-risk youth at Richmond’s Visual Arts Center.