Three Poems

Donna Mae Brown

East From Seattle

I drove late into the night, and now
awakened by necessity, lie
in a warm bed in a cold room, catching
images of yesterday, like snowflakes
on my tongue:

warm-throated lowing
of the six p.m. ferry, barking
of gulls, silent swell
of the snow-clad volcano looming
like a chess master over the board,

then the long, long rise and fall
of Snoqualmie, the deep sigh,
then dry country, the last trees
falling back like front runners
in a timeless marathon,

the long lesson of the scablands
where the quick and the sly joust
for a purse of death delayed
and stars ping in the sky: sharp,
staccato, grace notes from a piccolo,

bergs and bungalows rooted
to the sandy soil, undulating chains
of headlights on the long hills
and I among them, a pair of points
adrift on a ribbon of was-is-will be

soon, the quick crawl over
the long lip of Spokane, swallowed
into the quiescent caldera
limned with lights, of which one
is shining for me.


Maple Seeds

If NASA sent a rocket to another galaxy
full of things to represent the earth
and asked me to contribute, I would send
a maple seed, double wing
with the stem attached,
one without blemish culled
from the millions in my own back yard.

Imagine the fun the Others would have
dropping it again and again, watching it
pick its whimsical way to the ground,
each flight unique but obedient
to laws of physics.

Perhaps a little root finger
would venture forth, probing
the alien soil, and what if there
is water! Perhaps
it would lift itself up on an infant stem
quivering until the leaves burst forth
reaching toward light from
the nearest star.

Life is nothing if not adaptable,
and perhaps on that far-away planet
the seed would grow into a tree,
lavishing the landscape
some distant year with
tiny propellers to delight
extra-terrestrial children.

And if it doesn’t,
let them wonder.
Let them wonder.


Tide Pool

Bracing myself on a barnacled rock,
the toes of my boots nudging the verge,

I peer into their universe, stir with a stick
the icy water, as inch-long rock fish

dart for cover. With the tip of the stick
I upend a rock crab, its claws clicking

soundlessly, a pebble-sized warrior that
lives under a stone, pocketed in sand and

primed to joust. A purple star drapes
a bulge—mussel or clam—serene stillness

belying the struggle, patient straining
as its predatory stomach probes and

prods, seeking entry. Gently, I pry it loose
from its lunch. Wafting my hand across

a green anemone, tacky barbs clutching
at the contours of my skin, its best weapon

useless, I smile, an indifferent deity,
messing with their little minds.


Donna Mae Brown writes from the dry side of the mountains in Washington State, the steppe region known as the Columbia Basin. She is a high school counselor whose poems and articles appear regularly in magazines and literary journals. She welcomes visitors to her web page at E-mail: dmmbrown[at]

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