January 10th, 2024

Selected Poems by Erin Brown | January 2024


Freed chicken
pecked and bullied in the coop -
now you roost on the porch
enjoying the heat from the walls.
You follow the farmer
from chore to chore
instead of staying with the other ladies.
They thought you’d be eaten
by a coyote or a hawk
but you outsmarted them all.
All you needed was some space

And they are still in the cage.


Tree after Fire

I thought I might have imagined this
but a friend saw it too.

I saw a tree hugging itself
in a pasture alight with the green
that only comes after the ravaging
of wildfire.

Charred, black -
its insides scarred,
its branches stubs,
but across its widest part
limbs laid over one
on top of another
tender shoots at the ends splayed
like hands
reaching for life in the distance.


Salt of the Earth

Imagine a man working so hard
his body emptied of salt -
sweat so much he had
saline injected into his veins
at the end of every day
at the steam laundry.

His whole life engulfed in a hot hiss –
like the low wail of
a train forever waiting at the platform
ready to take someone somewhere
but stalled in a vapor of heat.

Frederick, Oklahoma -
full of ranchers
cotton farmers
and broad spreads of land
but Granddaddy scratched out a living
by mining himself.
Made a house
of bone and breath
and a soul spilled out.

About the author: Erin Brown has worked as a museum curator, teacher, and is currently employed as a research administrator at Oklahoma State University. Her poetry has appeared in Oklahoma Today, Big River Review, This Land, and the Red River Review. She lives with her family in Pawnee, Oklahoma at the Pawnee Bill Ranch and Museum, a historic site dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Pawnee Bill, a Wild West Showman.

Erin Brown