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Cristen Brooks

About the Poet

Cristen Brooks is a mother, a martial artist, and a poet who lives in Vermont with her husband and son.

A native of rural New England, she has worked as a book editor, a software support technician, and most recently, as an academic administrator.

She has been awarded fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center and the Frost Place Poetry Conference.


Spring 2015 Poems ~

My son wakes in the night
    he climbs between us in the bed says
  Mama, I brought you Tigger hands me beanbag tiger warns
  Be careful, he has a boo-boo
    climbs under my arm head next mine on pillow
He drops back to sleep
    and his breaths pull me down behind him
  I dream of houses with many rooms and old friends long unseen
  We were going somewhere it was only for a minute
    I parked the car left him there can’t find it now
  it’s a hot day and him trapped in the car I run looking, looking crying
  I have to find him he’s dying right now knowing that he is suffocating
  overheating in the car and I can’t find him —
  wake to him pressing his head against mine on the pillow
  smelling of piss sweat nutmeg not lost not harmed
Day bleak and gray light in the room like whey
    my husband head under the blanket
  my son sits up proclaims he is to be FIRST downstairs and
  FIRST dressed and he will put HIS waffle in the toaster BY HIMSELF
    slips to floor trots to head of stairs stops to turn says Mama, come!



is never slow we wish it could be we wish for quiet leisure but morning is never so we need the time to be to be awake together time stretches moving lazes slow under the bed marches sharp into the bathroom parts the steam in the shower says you’re late, late again morning three in the bed and the little one says I am a dragon I am a dinosaur I’m hungry and the big ones sigh stumble crick in the shoulder make tea toast lunches morning on the way to something else fast and have-to morning rumble fan tumble dryer milk on the floor ants in the kitchen bird song out-of-doors




Ben on the changing table chokes
chokes, rolls over, coughs
I am screaming for Alex
I am pounding on his back

I have always known this would happen
even as I was pushing him out into the world
even as I called him down I knew it was to die

he spits it out
spits out a gleaming silver nut
six-sided and slick

he spits it out he gags
and all his good lunch follows

he spits it out
my hand on his back gasping splashed with vomit
six-sided silver nut lethal wet and shining in my hand


Is it possible I was meant to be happy in this life?

Cristen Brooks ~

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