Leah Browning is the author of six chapbooks, including In the Chair Museum from Dancing Girl Press, and three short nonfiction books for teens and pre-teens. Her fiction and poetry have recently appeared in The Threepenny Review, Valparaiso Fiction Review, Watershed Review, Newfound, Random Sample Review, Superstition Review, Santa Ana River Review, The Homestead Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, Santa Fe Literary Review, Poetry South, The Stillwater Review, Coldnoon, Clementine Unbound, The Literary Review, Freshwater Literary Journal, and elsewhere. Her work has also appeared on materials from Broadsided Press and Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf, with audio and video recordings in The Poetry Storehouse, and in anthologies including The Doll Collection from Terrapin Books and Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence from White Pine Press. In addition to writing, Browning serves as editor of the Apple Valley Review.
OUT OF BODY
The night you were born, there was an emergency
elsewhere, and my surgery was postponed by two hours.
There was a television mounted on the wall
of our hospital room, and I could see a miniature reflection
of the bed I was lying in, in my pale pink hospital gown,
and your father standing next to me in his scrubs.
Time went by very slowly, and all we knew then
was that we had to be patient, we didn’t know for how long.
We were waiting for someone to take me into an operating room
and slice me open like a ripe melon,
but on the smooth gray surface of the screen
there was no sign of worry or distress
mirrored back, no indication of my uncontrollable
blood pressure, only the faintest lines of needles and tubes.
It was impossible to know what to say as we looked up,
watching the miniature versions of ourselves,
all four of us waiting for the familiar world
to shift without warning, and become something else.