First Lines by Brynn Saito

Mutant, you said, and we understood.

Moonlight unlocks murder dreams, the angels sober.

In the mystic classroom, we clapped our hands at the seeds of sacred dignity sewn into the skin
of western philosophy.


The cells marched.

Mother, you re-mother.

Bones bloomed and the bodies once inside your body got blessed by city light.

Toadflax, loosestrife, foxglove—

What silently praises the sun?

None of the fires remember my name, lie near to me now.

Gallop alongside your animal fear and the addict who loves you.

Tumble and scar, the mountain will teach you.

I’m a coin on the lake-face—

Windless, moonless, triple-threat ghost.

Who you’ve been can no longer carry you.

That’s the miracle.
Brynn Saito is the author of two books of poetry from Red Hen Press, Power Made Us Swoon (2016) and The Palace of Contemplating Departure (2013), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award and a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. She also co-authored, with Traci Brimhall, the chapbook Bright Power, Dark Peace (Diode Editions, 2016). Brynn is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in the English Department at Fresno State and Co-Director, with Nikiko Masumoto, of Yonsei Memory Project.