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Comfort of Home

by Kristen Holt-Browning

Awake at the false hearth, thinking about architecture,
how every structure I create is hostage
to water. The heat of this art is simple:
eyes open, wide through the mourning. This is to say night
comes early now, and I save nothing. Flip a switch
and gas flames to small fire, grazes
artificial wood. We do not have to build
theories anymore. Unknown men did the heavy lifting,
felled trees in the morning. Deer search
among dropped branches for sustenance,
fur thickening in winter, and I heap
blankets—a third, then a fourth—on my sleeping children.
Meanwhile, reservoir runoff slips down the mountain, seeps
to surface: porch, fire pit, companionable lawn chairs, small plastic slide.

Poet's Statement: I live at the edge of the woods with my husband and two young sons. In my poems, I’m often meditating on the relationship between the wild layers that we build over and brush up against, and the domestic sphere. Having been primarily homebound for months now due to Covid like so many others, I’m more aware than ever of the interplay and juxtapositions between built environments and nature.

Bio: Kristen Holt-Browning’s work has appeared in Juxtaprose, Eastern Iowa Review, and Frontier Poetry, among other publications. She holds an MA in English Literature from University College London and works as a freelance editor from her home in New York State’s Hudson Valley.