The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2022

All Issues
MAY 2022 Issue

from Translation of Lillies


1. Give up on how busy music can be.
2. Hear another presence lurking. Remind yourself to sing.
3. An alarming critical apparatus for a person his age. If only he would not use it against himself.
3. She cries mostly in private but all written accounts of tears are liable to disappear.
4. He said he would write, and used an invented word in the promise that is a continual and mutual
5. Where will all of them sleep?
6. It could be related to indoor weather, temperature control systems, windows, humidity, sleep
patterns or hormones.
7. Is this item still on my list? If I had only crossed it off yesterday, and yet, that would have been a
poor use of time. Wait until there is nothing better to do. Wait until you are flooded and cannot
think. Then run around dressed with intense purpose.
8. Be in disguise.
9. Stop waiting.
10. Anyone you lived with would make you feel the same.
11. Forgive those thin needling imaginary leaks.
12. In other words, molt.


1. Other things occur, bands tight across the head.
2. I was wrong to use a circular motion.
3. What it’s really like to do one thing at one time.
4. If you pick up a receiver now it will invariably be the wrong time for the person you are
trying to reach. How not to forget one’s own origins? If a day is not a number it sometimes
behaves like a bad animal. I mean like humans.
5. I’d rather not go today because there will be lines out the door in thin gray drizzle.
6. She looked different when she was there to meet anyone else—than when she was there
to meet me. Will I be invited again? We hope certain parties will repeat themselves, with the
same persons.
7. Is it possible that they’d never met?
8. The entire room then became a person I knew, in many bodies.
9. She was sorry that this year she cannot contribute and I offered to contribute in her place.
10. Faux instructions are the way to go.
11. I asked him to help me with a small software problem that had to do with filling out
poorly designed government forms. He said he had administrators who could fill out those
forms when he applied for grants. But in the arts things are different.
12. It seems important to train oneself to extend in the most unlikely of directions especially
when that involves poor chances and badly designed forms.
13. I have not yet begun.
14. People disagree about whether or not it is polite or just adding to clutter to send
messages via email to say thank you. But I must say thank you.
15. We never used to meet this way.
16. This one is impossible so I don’t know why I even bothered to write it down. Possibly
because persistence is the only clear course to survival.
17. And when I do the mailbox will be full. The message will say, if you can, send me a text.
18. I should just do this. It won’t take long.
19. Lascivious.
20. Balconies, terraces, charming streets, very affordable, more and more alluring.
21. He resists practice.
22. This might be for much younger kids.
23. Write a note of encouragement and make it so convincing that this person decides to stay.
24. Help with mortality issues and something we should have done decades ago.
25. Does silence mean I’m not in your thoughts?


Laynie Browne

Laynie Browne’s recent publications include a collection of poems Translation of the Lilies Back into Lists (Wave Books 2022) and the anthology A Forest on Many Stems: Essays on The Poet’s Novel (Nightboat 2021). Forthcoming are two more collections of poems, Letters Inscribed in Snow (Tinderbox) and Apprentice to a Breathing Hand (Omnidawn.) Honors include a Pew Fellowship, and the National Poetry Series Award. She teaches and coordinates the MOOC Modern Poetry at University of Pennsylvania.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAY 2022

All Issues