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About this poet

William Brewer was born and raised in West Virginia. He is the author of I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017), winner of the National Poetry Series. He is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and lives in Oakland, California.

Detox Psalm

Only in the slow braid of a dream
can you study want and need, their
patience, their cruelty. Amid the thin
trunks of their campfires’ smoke,
I watched the hours shed
their polished armor, clean and
sheathe their blades, water their
stallions, refuse to leave the shore.
Always a shore, overcast, a sun
that offers me to climb inside its mouth,
and therefore cannot be trusted.
You’re asking to be taken apart
without the help of time, in the face
of its broken promise to keep
forward. I thought to give myself
to the dogs, but they only gnawed 
my thighs. With the waves’ jade
coaxing, I heaved my every organ
through my mouth, then cut a mouth,
at last, in my abdomen and prayed
for there to be something more divine
than the body, and still something
more divine than that, for a torrent
of white flies to fly out of me,
anything, make me in the image
of the bullet. I begged, release me
from myself and I will end a life.
 

From I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by William Brewer. Used with the permission of Milkweed Editions.

From I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by William Brewer. Used with the permission of Milkweed Editions.

William Brewer

William Brewer

William Brewer is the author of I Know Your Kind (Milkweed Editions, 2017).

by this poet

poem
Always this warm moment when I forgot which part of me
I blamed. Never mind the pills kicking in, their spell
that showers the waiting room, once full of shame,
in a soft rain of sparks that pity sometimes is,
how it mends the past like a welder seams metal,
and
poem
Dear Mr. So-and-So with my blood on his clothes,
the Internet says a dollop of my spit
will take the stain right out.
 
I’m generous like that—I give myself away
to erase any sign that I was here.
What’s more brutal:
 
A never-ending
poem

   Storms are generous.
                                      Something so easy to surrender to, sitting by the window,
 and then you step out into the garden you were so bored of,
                 so bored of you hated it,

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