An Early Vision of Ponthipa

      Her sex appeared in curious places–

      underneath the elephant’s feet,

      in pools of the swallowing dirt,
stripped cruel and lovely 

      inside a make-shift Thailand,
a call in the gill of a fish
found cut and battered.

      I wanted fingers like hers,
rice stained brown ponies
that pried the thin sheets apart,

      made quick work of my tastes,

      tripped the sounds of orchids,

      found the staircases to my sadness,
and held my cries in their easy fold.


With each inevitable goodbye,

      she could bend her wonton skins
to my devouring,
make herself tiny to fit, sizzling,
in the open wave of my mouth,
and I would jab my ugly fingers in

      to touch the peaks

      of her clear wrinkly film,
the crushed eggshells of her touch.

From my book, It Broke Anyway, NeoPoiesis Press 2012. Available from and NeoPoiesis Press.

April Michelle Bratten currently resides in Minot, North Dakota. She received her BA in English from Minot State University. She has had poetry published in Southeast Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, Thrush Poetry Journal, Waterhouse Review, and others. Her collection, It Broke Anyway, was published by NeoPoiesis Press in 2012. Raw Dogs and Other Metaphors, published by Maverick Duck Press, was also released in 2012. She is the editor of Up the Staircase Quarterly.