Two Poems by Charlie Brice

These two poems by Charlie Brice engage the world of wish fulfillment. “What if You Slept” is a dream that aims to mitigate death’s sting, while “Our Birch” is an allegory that invites readers to reflect on nature’s profound wisdom. Both poems seek calm in turbulent times…

Sculpture by Sun-Hyuk Kim.

by: Charlie Brice

What If You Slept

++++++++++++++++After “What if You Slept” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

and your mother was smiling and kind,
reading books, sampling strawberries,
her favorite fruit, and packing picnics—
what she always wanted to do
had it not been for Budweiser
and your father; and your father
was singing as he did in the mornings:
“Thanks for the Memories,”
and “Blue Skies” and was sober
and fighting trim; and you were
playing catch with your son
when he was eight, kick ball
when he was ten, watching him
zig-zag down a double black diamond
at seventeen, holding his carefully
crafted cups and bowls in his twenties,
watching the Pirates play the Dodgers
together in his forties; and Judy’s
long midnight hair hangs
on her shoulders and her doe-eyes
glitter in their seductive and
irresistible ways and she takes
your hand and you dance with her
atop her lilting verses and stars
explode, planets spiral through space
vaporizing vapors, dissolving black holes,
revising your time on this earthly cyst
into an eternal remonstration of redemption,
wrapping you in a celestial blanket of bliss,
and you hear the English horn’s calm
call that belongs to Dvorak’s largo theme,
and you stand, hands outstretched to life,
and it’s then that you understand
that you died while you slept?


Our Birch

Our birch is proud of her leaves,
doesn’t worry about the inevitable fall;
proud as well of her umber-gray strength,
not against the cold and snow,
but with them: happy to be among
the living that thrive on gelid ground.

Our birch opens her limbs to talons
and beaks, accepts their feathered
gratitude with stately, upright grace,
yet bends in a breeze. She would have
been kind to Antigone, would have
granted her wish to bury her brother
no matter how much disgraced.

Her mouth is the rain,
her body the air we breathe.
She stays close to her roots
and never, ever, forgets
her roots in the earth.


Charlie Brice is the winner of the 2020 Field Guide Magazine Poetry Contest and is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), An Accident of Blood (2019), and The Broad Grin of Eternity (forthcoming), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Chiron Review, Impspired Magazine (UK), Golden Streetcar, I-70 Review, The Sunlight Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, and elsewhere.

One reply on “Two Poems by Charlie Brice”
  1. says: Arthur Rosch

    I feel a kinship with these poems/this poet. A sense of humanity radiates from the words, and, obviously, earthiness. Charlie Brice has achieved every artist’s goal, which is to create beauty that is sound and coherent and communicable. If I have just miscast the goal of artists, that’s on me.

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