Brian Rosenberger

The September Editor's Pick Poet is Brian Rosenberger

Please feel free to email Brian at: brosenberger@earthlink.net



Red makes you look alive
My mother would say as she smeared lipstick
On my young lips and rouged my cheeks
So it looked like I was constantly blushing
Before doing my eyelids, usually in lavender, cyan or smoke,
Always her choice, she told me stories of her youth
About all her suitors before my Pa won her heart.
Sage advice. She loved telling me those stories
About the hunt and the chase, over and over.
Ma was a looker and I inherited her genes.
Despite her craftsmanship, experience, and affection,
I looked into the mirror and saw nothing.
She would smile at her handiwork, join in a simple prayer,
And hug me hard enough for my ribs to hurt,
Before I stepped out into the night
To begin a hunt of my own.


The house looked like a disfigured Jack-O-Lantern,
When candles burned. More amber than orange.
A disturbing architecture, odd angles illuminated.
A house of Shadows, in a forest of Shadows.
The Lady of the House, favored black for fashion.
Ebony veil to ebony gloves to ebony shoes,
Skinned from dead rats and withered crows.

My sister and I, bold from nights alone in the Forest,
A promise to each other of shared survival.
We, young and naïve, asked why the Midnight garb.
The Lady replied, “I mourn my dead husband
And our beautiful children. My beautiful children.
All dead and gone now. You so remind me of them.
So young and sweet and innocent.”

The Lady offered shelter. She requested from us, utter strangers,
That we only help clean, forage for food, and defend her home,
Our home, if needed.

Defend it from what, something neither I nor Gretel dared ask.

Our Lady was an excellent cook. The Forest, devoid of animals,
She made the most delicious stew from the roots, leaves and berries,
We gathered. I remember the flavors fondly. Delicious.

We discovered the bones of her family on one of our excursions.
She understood, as we did, what it took to survive,
What Hunger whispers and demands.

Gretel and I fled the Lady’s home with only our souls, skin, and clothes.
Food was scarce. Rats and humans in a battle for survival.
Plague, the true victor.

I miss my parents. I miss the Lady. I miss Gretel.
I remember fondly the flavor of each.
All delicious in their own way.
I weep for them and taste the salt of my tears.
It’s of no sustenance, just seasoning.
Still, I hunger.


Prometheus stole fire from the Gods
And gave it to us mere mortals.
His punishment, his liver consumed by
The eagle of Zeus. Daily.
Why waste his gift, his sacrifice?
I say burn.
Leaves, Books, Witches
Just obey the laws.
I hail from the Midwest.
We always burned.
In my small hometown,
The only delinquent fires
Were caused by delinquent teens.
As a lesson, we burned them too.
Ashes to ashes.

Brian Rosenberger lives in a cellar in Marietta, Georgia and writes by the light of captured fireflies. He is the author of As the Worm Turns and three poetry collections: Poems That Go Splat, And For My Next Trick…, and Scream for Me