Two Poems by Berent LaBrecque

Vignette on Hands

The only person I have ever given myself to called me gentle
Like it was wrong and I, a broken thing for loving that way
It has not made me any less tender
This time, it still feels right
Like I am not a broken body
No matter how many times my hands have ached to make me that way         They haven't 
So maybe they know no other way to be than soft 
But maybe 
Some people like that 
Most Waking Moments

This is a poem for one of my best friends. Conversations with them go like this:

“I am a massive ball of stress most waking moments”
“ok, hard same, but still”

And this time we do hold hands
As we rest our softness in each other’s
Before it grows into an ocean and a sky
We both keep saying we’d melt
Preferably not over the ice cream
And we do
And it’s not over the ice cream

But yes, of course I melt around you 
You campfire of a person
Yes, we’re all drawn to your warmth
And your stories
How you feel safe from all the darkness around us
And yeah, of course I shiver a little 
I’m just not used to everything around me feeling so warm
And yeah, I like your eyes in midday sunlight
But I like them here too
Glinting in the light from your campfire
Or the moon

You can whisper all your beach-hating secrets to me
I’ll keep them safe
As we walk around in normal human clothes
Climb up the lifeguard towers
Read each other poetry
Keep each other safe there too
Looking out from such great heights
Over the vastness of the ocean
You can encapsulate the world in a conch shell
As long as you put us in it 
Hold it against your ear
Listen to the silence as the waves lap against the shore
Revel in this one perfect moment
How you make the loud parts of me 
Quieter

About the author

Berent LaBrecque is a history teacher who currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where he spends most of his time sending love into the universe and also eating snacks. His work can be found in BOMBFIRE, and is forthcoming in Ethel in August 2021. His chapbook “Sometimes It Rains” is available from Paper Asylum’s Crooked Treehouse Press at https://bit.ly/3i7aoFO. He thinks third person bios are weird, and probably misses you.

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