Poetry from Melanie Browne


the trio of musicians pluck
Sakura, Sakura
and I imagine you,
the niece I have never met
with a handful of snow
somewhere near Mobara
Jessica, someday soon it
will be spring
and the cherry blossoms
will bring 
a sweet sadness,
a tiny glimpse of heaven
and the snow will melt
and run back where it came
You are real but I 
am across an ocean,
the cherry blossoms

and the fog only a dream

How to build a better cheese board
Swim in the Atlantic
to build up your strength,
Linger outside a Whole Foods 
collecting omens,
Learn how to spell Brie
Plunder your garage
looking for discarded monuments
Release doves by the seaside
without a wedding

Eat all the marmalade

and none of the cheese

Flashing lights in Chongqing
They smoke and
aim their cell phones at
the night sky while
the lights flash
in Chongqing
while around the
world millions will wake
up with strange markings
on their bodies,
a memory they can’t
quite place
and a feeling of
having floated
high into the sky


The Phantom of Men’s Wearhouse
I’ve seen him,
The Phantom of men’s Wearhouse
I was there with husband
with my two sons
getting them measured
for my son’s piano recital
They were the exact same size
and they were running a 
two for one sale
excuse me, I lost my train 
of thought, where was I,
Oh the phantom..
I’ve seen him,
The phantom of Men’s Wearhouse
I saw him in the mirror
he was standing in a suit coat
and had both hands on his
portly stomach but I found
him quite attractive, 
he turned to the left
then back to the right
then he turned completely
around so he could check out 
his butt
The phantom had no mask
but his beard covered  half off his face
and I rightly guessed he wasn’t born
with that beard but society
had wore him down bit by bit
and yard by yard
until he couldn’t remember
what a razor might cost at Walgreens
After the cashier tallied up our
purchases, I asked him
about the phantom,
but he told me he had no idea what I was
talking about and gave me a coupon
for buy one get one dress shirts
as we left the store
I softly sang “think of me, 
think of me fondly,” and we set

off to get dinner at Applebee’s

Uber, Downtown Houston 6:30 pm
She is chatty, most of them
don’t speak, are so quiet
it can be unnerving in fact,
not even hello
She tells us she is going to
the Hobby center in a few
weeks, to hear a singer
which one, I ask and she says
the singer is from her country
and that she is from Iran
and that the singer was
unable to travel to the states
for thirty years
“wow” I say unable to come up
with much more than that
She says she has a sinus
infection and in Iran it’s better
because they do a procedure
to take the infection out
I try hard not to picture that
I think how close the brain is
to the sinuses and maybe that’s
why we don’t do that here
We are stuck in traffic
and she says she needs to use
the bathroom but there is
nowhere to go downtown
We hop out on Bagby street
a little more cultured
but not sure what to
think about all
the other drivers
that were so quiet
not even a sniffle