The Works of Michael H. Brownstein

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, After Hours, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review and others. In addition, he has eight poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005).
Brownstein teaches elementary school in Chicago’s inner city, studies authentic African instruments with his students, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators and the State of Illinois Title 1 Convention, and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.

All Poems © Michael H. Brownstein 

After the Moon Fills Itself with Milk

the lightning bug tree

in the middle of the grove

the sand break

in the middle of the river

the blackened angel cloud

in the middle of the noon sky

the stone and red leaf,

the driftwood and oyster puddle

the cold rain of winter,

a brown bear waking to the snow

a track along the ice

in the middle of the storm

December, the drought ending,

rain washed trees bleeding their color

and one quarried house

at the edge of the great swamp of snow.


If the tree between buildings breathed

Animosity among its leaves.

If skin color were different kinds of air.

If photosynthesis contracted itself

Through song. Why does the mudslide cover

That river and not the one nearby?

How does a fish breathe on land

And a human underwater?

In the exchange of gases, what is a tree?