Soft Flood | Brenna Lee

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“Poems of loss, intimacy, and insight, Brenna Lee’s Soft Flood maps intensity constellations: that of embodiment, of being alive. Visionary, contemporary, and vital.”

–Hoa Nguyen, author of A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure (Wave Books 2021)


Soft Flood looks closely at bodies in extreme moments and conditions. It begins in the place where: "Cattails burn. This is a diversion."  Brenna Lee writes here, before anything arrives and when it's already, perhaps, too late. Lee's chapbook is an ideal form, constituted as it is of "forgotten edges," "misdirection as an act of intimacy," and "open to disintegration." 

 –Bhanu Kapil


Brenna Lee received her BA from Pennsylvania State University and her MFA from Naropa University, where she was the recipient of the Leslie Scalapino Award. Her work has recently appeared in BathHouse, Bone Bouquet, No Contact, and Dream Pop Journal. She is a Writer-in-Residence for InsideOut Literary Arts and teaches in Detroit.


Watch the Broken Thing Fall

 I cut the horoscope from the newspaper, call the baby a dead girl’s name. Soft peak shadows frost the arc of dish rag thighs. Slush bucket woman as mountain, winter, or flood. Dowsing rods point to ridges that echo sisters or a child’s birthday cake. Dissolution the instance of insect swarm. To annihilate, illuminate. Drift corpse slug gentle crash into stiff mass in the damp. Creature memory seized in the palm of coma clairvoyance. Pleasure bent I conjure caves. This is where the wet becomes hard. Break space for a moment or season before the thaw. How to hum with my throat in the pudding and beak toppled in the wake. Shank solid as hoof melts to jelly to water splits apart in the wave of messages carved in a frozen tide then left to remain with bestial demand. Phantom slits drip guttural sounds. Obscurities that dissolve into blush fur and sway. An empty fang grows from my body. My body is a dream. I go outside to watch the broken thing fall.