Barbara Brooks, Author, Poems, Poet, The Catbird Sang, Hillsborough, Orange County of North Carolina, Finishing Line Press.

Published Poems by Barbara Brooks

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Becoming My Parents
Burying My Horse
Chocolate Pudding
Elegy for My Horse

Becoming My Parents

I never thought it would happen: the little things.
Mom kept a sherbet tub for trash
by the sink, the garbage can being several feet away.
I use empty containers, oat meal boxes,
bread wrappers. She made lists for everything,
grocery, errands to run, what I was to take back
on my return to North Carolina. I use the backs
of envelopes to start poems, lists of chores, calls to be made.

Dad didn’t much care how he dressed;
he wore Dickies pants and shirts, khaki only.
Dressing up was putting on a short sleeved shirt
to go to Shoney’s. My brother bought him a suit
to wear at Mom’s visitation, I had to go to Wal-mart
to get something to wear to Dad’s. In his last days, he wore
his slippers everywhere. I live in my blue jeans and T-shirts,
dressing up is a good pair of blue jeans and frayed Lands’ End shirts.
I brought his slippers home.

Muddy River Poetry Review
Fall 2014

Burying My Horse

“It’s my fault.”
Dad’s face, gray with teared eyes.
“Big Red is dead”.
I held onto the counter.
It is November, I am in the kitchen loading
the dishwasher with the breakfast plates.
Must be about 12.

“Mr. Shannon will use his bulldozer
to dig the hole.” Dad won’t let me go
until it is dug. He doesn’t want me
to see the body taken back to the site.
I imagine my horse on his side,
legs stuck straight out,
a chain around him,
the ‘dozer dragging him.

Diesel fumes and smell of freshly
scraped earth,
a cold body rests
on the naked ground.

Dirt covers Big Red.

Avalon Literary Review

Chocolate Pudding

heat 2 cups milk until just boiling
Only have 1 ¾ cups regular milk, wonder if a little buttermilk will work
haven’t had it since I don’t know when
when milk ready, pour in mix, remove from heat
stir constantly until thickened.
Mom put the pudding in small ramekins of which I have one
I put it in a big bowl
put plastic wrap on top to prevent a skin from forming
Mom never did that, neither do I

I eat a bit when it is still warm,
let it cool and put it in the fridge.
It’s cold now.
I break through the skin,
it’s as creamy as Mom’s.
I remember more chocolate.

Southern Women's Review

Elegy for My Horse

It was December when you floated like driftwood
onto the snow leaving your blood behind. I promised
myself just one glance at your ashes in that bronze box.

It seems like yesterday when you and I soared
over the brush jump, counted strides between the fences,
ran with the hounds after the fox, rode along the Ohio.

Wind toyed with your mane, your eyes, dark as chocolate,
closed as your heart stopped its beat. I wanted to catch
you as you flew towards the sun but I could not keep up.

I don’t want my ashes left in a box sitting
on the mantel piece. I want them thrown into the wind,
falling into the ocean, returning to the world’s blood.

Muddy River Poetry Review
Fall 2014


dusk, trees fade to black
insects sing, midnight moon smiles
tree frogs call, leaves stir

haiku journal 5/9/14


Who taught me to use chalk to draw the pattern
on the pavement, how to use one foot in the single blocks,
two in the double and in the circle at the top?

I played while waiting for the bus,
picked out that lucky piece of gravel,
hopped from square to square,
missed the one with the marker,
no stepping on the lines.

Now I need to lean against something
just to put on my pants. I take a walking pole
on bird trips to balance on the rocky path,
and to help me get up that slick slope.

I don’t try to hop the pattern
at the playground.

Boston Literary Magazine

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