county

“County Fair, Senior Year”, “Genealogy” and “Hallelujah, Hallelujah”

by E. Merrill Brouder

County Fair

County Fair, Senior Year

I.

By the candied apple stand,

I recognize a girl from sophomore history

and the two of us wander together

through the smell of fried dough and manure,

and the two of us pet the Icelandic Sheep,

and kiss the bull, who eats from her hand

near the confederate flag

hung by hollow-eyed blond boys

who stare at her dark skin.


II.

I profess my love to her on the Ferris wheel

and she squeezes my hand...

Then someone needs to hold her pens

as she goes around ‘The TORNADO.’

She goes around and I nearly throw up watching.

She gets off the back, enters a crowd of carnies,

and vanishes like a wallet in a shallow pocket.

I stand there for an hour, holding her pens.


III.

From the highest point on The Grounds

I see a girl with a brown ponytail,

dark skin, and with no pens, but

‘The Amazing PARACHUTES’ lights up

and she's only a caricature artist

cast in white, and red, and blue lights–

And, in fact, her hands are filled

with the little plastic tubes labeled

Sharpie, and Bic, and Paper Mate.

Genealogy

What will become,

of the MERRILL lot

now that everyone has left?

The willow tree is rotting.

The grass has died.

Petals and pollen

stain the rounding stones,

no longer bleached and brushed.


“Edwin Katté Merrill”

Life is eternal;

and love is immortal;

and death is only a horizon.

His mother chose this epitaph…

She’d also saved the shotgun shells,

one live and one spent,

on her mantle. No one

thought to save them

when her house was leveled.


“Bernard Pierre Brouder”

His son and I decorate these words

with two pebbles and cherry

blossoms. His son doesn’t

know his grandfather's name

because he’s buried in Germany

in an unmarked asbestos grave.


The Poet Robert Pinsky asks

if you can name all eight

of your parents grandparents?

What's the point of having them?

Everyone's leaving the MERRILL lot.

No one’s coming back to St. Andrew’s

No, it’s St. Mathew’s... I remember now.


We leave, at last, alone–

passing a foreign-looking woman

(without a trace of an accent)

in the parking lot. The willow’s amber,

which I had stolen, and cherry blossoms

wadd in my pocket. They’ll wait for a grandson,

vaulted as the currency of remembrance.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Like coffee brewing,

Warblers and Wood Thrushes

perch above the sea

in the snow-blossom branches

of a crabapple tree–

while hummingbirds and humming bees,

probe the ova of an apple

and chipmunks scurrying over roots and rocks

are fighting for flowers... Not to eat

But for their mistresses

in tacky Spruce motels.


As if on TV, retreating armies of crabs

break in the beaks of gulls

with the sound of a kettle’s whistle.

It's a sight to behold– Christ!

Even the granite’s a sight to behold!

With her soft curves and austere faces

looking with a feldspar frown at the wild passions

of the spiderwebs and fiddleheads

that creep from cracks in her igneous womb.


The greenness of the grass,

the sweetness of the Sun–

still making breakfast and

spreading marmalade through the branches.

Sing! Sing! Sing of this spectacle!

Let the crescendo echo on the water–

Mr. Loon will startle, and the two of you

will laugh at your foolishness.

Then he and Mrs. Duck

iron out their shirt-sleeves and fly off

with a flock of bastard children...

Leaving an oligoclase Orchard Oriole

to whittle away with song.

About the Author

E. Merrill Brouder

Website

E. Merrill Brouder was born in New York and raised in Maine, where he fell in love with the region's unique history of folklore, comedy, and poetry, and later the writings of the Symbolists and Modernists from across the United States and Europe. His work has been featured in The Write Launch, Pittsburgh Poetry Houses, and other regional publications.