READ LOCAL First is your glimpse into the working minds and hearts of Utah’s literary writers. Each month, 15 Bytes offers works-in-progress and / or recently published work by some of the state’s most celebrated and promising writers of fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction and memoir.
Today, 15 Bytes features Cedar City-based poet Danielle Beazer Dubrasky who here provides three works, including the opening poem from her chapbook, Ruin and Light, forthcoming in May from Anabiosis Press.
Sunday Blog Read continues to accrue a distinguished group of established and emerging Utah writers for your review and enjoyment.
So curl up with your favorite cup of joe and enjoy the work of Danielle Dubrasky!
From “The Sand Man”
This is the story of two children who wander into the desert
and see a burning bush—creosote—the oldest plant on earth.
The smell of it after rain is of railroad tracks crossing desolation,
passing all the lives scattered at the root of the chaparral.
The brother and sister have followed him—
the man who coaxed them toward a mirage
with the promise they would see God.
In the desert there are circles of seeds, tracks of snakeskin,
diadems of sunflowers crushed into a map.
He does not give them manna but hops and hashish.
He takes them into the desert that sparkles at first of crushed jewels.
The sand shifts, the diamonds cut their feet.
He takes them into the desert and says hush.
He is not waiting for them to grow up
but to soften and fatten by feeding them sweet things—
but no, that story belongs to two other children.
(originally appeared in Sugar House Review)
I am no nearer to what the sea tries to loosen wedged in rock—
a sorrow slipped between a trapped metal cap
and glass shattered along another coast.
The truth is I don’t live near the ocean
but in a desert town I refuse to see
built on an alluvial fan of gypsum soil shifting
beneath cracked plaster and skewed door frames;
beneath miles of silver sage, rabbit brush, dry lakes
and wind trembling through pinyon rooted along the highway.
I leave my own trace, planting wisteria and honeysuckle,
Southern foreigners thirsting for water.
I blink and the town is gone, drowned in a sea of fossils.
What that sea left behind is the desert I walk through,
a sorrow slipped between shale and trilobites.
(originally appeared in Fire in the Pasture)
The Ceiling Fan Spins Your Childhood
The ceiling fan spins your childhood through the smallest sounds—
moths tapping their bodies against the screen,
your father charting Cygnus in the August sky,
rain on the window late at night that follows you
into the eyes of children who have never heard rain,
the last thing your mother says to you
before you know it is the last thing.
You chart journeys on maps, memorize legends,
highways, train routes, rivers,
and when you follow roads beneath constellations
the sky becomes both land and sea for traveling animals.
You ride trains that cross rivers, watch landmarks
unfold on the arms and faces of those sitting nearby—
a scar on the left cheek, a red mole, a swan tattooed on a wrist—
and when you ride to stations beneath the earth
your voice spins through the tracks and maps the darkness.
(from the collection Ruin and Light)
Danielle Beazer Dubrasky is an associate professor of Creative Writing at Southern Utah University. Her chapbook Ruin and Light won the 2014 Anabiosis Press Chapbook Competition. Her poetry has also been published in Contrary Magazine (where 6 new poems by her have just been published online), Sugar House Review, ECOllective, Tar River Poetry, Weber Studies, CityArts, and Petroglyph. She has been a finalist for White Pines Press, a semi-finalist for Backwaters Press and Elixir Press, and a fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She is also a two-time recipient of the Utah Arts Council first place award in poetry. She is the poetry editor for Contemporary Rural Social Work journal and has developed a curriculum of poetry writing exercises to be used in poetry therapy groups. She grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, but has spent the last 20 years in southern Utah.
Past featured writers in 15 Bytes’ Sunday Blog Read: Katharine Coles, Michael McLane, Darrell Spencer, Larry Menlove, Christopher Bigelow, Shanan Ballam, Steve Proskauer, April Wilder, Calvin Haul, Lance Larsen, Joel Long, Lynn Kilpatrick, Phyllis Barber, David Hawkins, Nancy Takacs, Mike Dorrell, Susan Elizabeth Howe, Star Coulbrooke, Brad Roghaar, Jerry Vanleperen, Maximilian Werner, Markay Brown, Natalie Young, and Michael Sowder.