Three Poems by Brittany J. Barron

Mad Girl Imagines Mama and Daddy's Wedding

When Mad Girl imagines Mama and Daddy’s wedding,
she imagines a smoke-in-the-lungs July night at St. Paul’s.
Mama walked down the aisle, bathed in crimson. 

Eighteen, a Baptist’s daughter, with a heart of hymns,
not yet ready for her wifely duties. Before they exchanged rings,
Mama told Daddy, I will never love you like you love me. 

Mama’s premonition: her dress ablaze in a cauldron. 
In pictures, her daddy’s eyes locked to the floor, as if in a funeral
procession. Mama walked down the aisle, bathed in crimson. 

In forty years, she’d look at her husband like a man no better 
than a sheep gashed and skinned at the altar. She’d recited vows 
she scraped with her teeth, red-mouthed, wishing she’d never bled

for Daddy, who grieved tomorrow and tomorrow, his future 
of sound and fury. Mama, a May child, didn’t belong in his storm. 
Mama walked down the aisle, bathed in crimson. 
Her premonition: her dress ablaze in a cauldron.

Mad Girl at the Grocery Store

On the day she decided to be a vegetarian, Mad Girl accompanied Mama to J&J’s. Mad Girl walked up and down the aisles, picked up apples and smelled their pink skin. She stood in front of the temperature-controlled produce longer than any other warm body. Mad Girl reserved those Wednesdays to show herself. To upset a pile of pears. To pick up a box of cereal and put it back on the shelf, determined at indecisiveness until Mama checked off ground beef from her list. Mad Girl stopped the buggy, considered the red pool in the package. Asked Mama what it was. Blood, Mama told her. Mad Girl disappeared that day, scared from the foreboding. She wouldn’t appear again for another few years or so, when her desperation was bright as that animal’s red blood. In that clear plastic wrap, choked.

Mad Girl's Aubade: Pendergrass, Georgia

Five forty-five: 
Mad Girl awakens,
and she can still live
in the skull of morning
where cows scatter 
in the pasture,
knock the trough,
with every nudge, 
they beg, more.

Mad Girl asked the same, more,
when she sat across from the boy she could have loved,
the days she knelt at the altar for alms,
the moments she stared at the creature in the mirror.

In Pendergrass, the bone of sky 
says, enough, 
yet when Mad Girl dreams at night,
she dreams of that boy, those alms, that mirror.

The sky’s fever flashes—
now pink
now amber
now azure—
the prayer of home.

Mad Girl left that sky, that prayer, that medicine.

Brittany J. Barron graduated from the University of North Georgia with a B.A. in English and minor in Gender Studies in May 2016. At UNG, the Gender Studies Council recognized Brittany’s research on Dorothy Allison, presenting her with the Simone de Beauvoir Award. Currently, she is a third-year MFA candidate in poetry at Georgia College, where she serves as Assistant Poetry Editor of Arts & Letters and teaches freshman composition. In 2017, her poetry was published in Z Publishing’s anthology Georgia’s Best Emerging Poets.

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