Brigitte Byrd




(imagine someone thinking)

Today the sky is a white shroud and we are still alive. We drive through empty fields. We drive through stripped forests. We drive in the rain in the dark and it is not in vain. There was a time she stopped leaving the house and shut all the doors.  There. At the end of the path there is a paint horse against the drenched background. Pourrait-elle vivre sans lui? We circle him stroke his neck rub the soft spot under the mane between the ears. There was a time I did not understand. We're falling in love with a horse. There was a time she shaved her head like an Egyptian shaved her eyebrows in mourning. My daughter leads him to the ring and I remember. There was a time she carved a horse's name on her ankle and I did not scream.                




(imagine a piece of music)

We forget a body lives under the skin. We cannot locate the mind. If a gesture is a symbolic perspective what is the meaning of my fingers rubbing the soft spot under the mane between the ears. His melancholy under my eyes. What is the meaning of her leading him in the ring for the first time. In Georgia the sun consumes the landscape. There is always the depth of an empty room. She shut all the doors. There is always the distance between nothingness and the click clacking of delusion. You reside in a poem. There. A horse's name carved on a child's ankle. It is through the skin that metaphysics must be made to re-enter our minds.1 There. They ask me if her hair was as curly as mine and I remember a younger sister. Your family history under my skin. Under her skin a bullet. It is trapped in the heart. The vanishing of a breath always signals the end of a mind. 




(something that actually takes place in human life)

She had a younger sister with curls so tight she hid in a cave. Elle ne pouvait pas vivre sans lui. What did she say when she saw the cross-bearing eagle on his dark peaked cap and felt his chest throbbing against hers into an open wound. Elle ne savait plus ce qu’elle faisait. She tore words into pieces and ran through the courthouse through the cathedral through the gates. She knew the quickening of a breath always signaled the end. There was a house in the woods. There was a cave near the house. There was another man in the house. First they shot him then they shaved her head.2  She shaved her eyebrows in mourning and disappeared. There was a younger sister with an empty heart and a bullet trapped under the skin.




(more blurred and less pronounced)

Today the sky is cobalt blue and I am not in France. Each day I walk at the end of a leash past a Georgian lake past a fork on the road past a chained dog. On ne comprend jamais les amours des autres.3 What was I thinking when he said I shut the blinds and sit in dark rooms. There was a family story. There was a father’s barren heart. There was a mother’s loneliness. There was a chest throbbing inside mine like an open wound. I kept my eyes shut to avoid the certainty of his future. There was a time he already knew. There was a time I waited all night long and no one came back. There was a time he had already ended.


1 Antonin Artaud. From The Theater and Its Double (Grove Press, 1958)

2 During the post-liberation purge, women suspected of having romantic liaisons with Nazis were shaved.

3 Simone de Beauvoir.  From La femme rompue (Gallimard, 1967)