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KRISTENE KAYE BROWN | For the Couple Arguing on the Steps of Nelson Atkins Museum


I wasn’t taking sides

with the stone statues

or the hint of dark

that still clung to the sky.

Let it be known,

I barely noticed

the thin wisps of snow

blowing up

from a previous storm

and collecting

in the sidewalk cracks.

And I didn’t once think

of spring

or what comes next.

I promise,

I never assumed

the pigeon

cornering her reflection

in the window

above where you stood

was an omen or metaphor

anymore or less

than the clouds that moved

to cover the sun.

I only wanted to sit on a bench

and listen

to the trees moan,

to give the wind

something to struggle against,

and consider

the few winter leaves

that hang on too long

and will not let go.


Kristene Kaye Brown is a mental health social worker. She earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has been featured on NPR and published most recently in New South, Nimrod, Ploughshares, Salt Hill, and others. She lives and works in Kansas City.


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