Every evening now I serve you butter chicken
all cream and cardamom on a bed of jasmine rice
with a bottle of Black Sheep Ale imported from England
and later we make love with the lights turned off
for the first time in almost a month
and I don’t know what any of this means
the night that clicks down like a worn but well-loved record
from a happier time even as we sit at the table
with cloth napkins in our laps and warm food
in our mouths that don’t remember how to speak
or how to say goodbye.
Leah Browning is the author of three nonfiction books for teens and pre-teens. Her first chapbook of short fiction, Things I Remember When I’m Sober, was published in 2015, and her fourth chapbook of poetry, Out of Body, is forthcoming. Browning’s fiction and poetry have previously appeared in publications including Queen’s Quarterly, 42opus, The Saint Ann’s Review, Bluestem Magazine, Blood Orange Review, Lime Hawk, Chagrin River Review, Fiction Southeast, Toad, The Citron Review, Corium Magazine, Per Contra, Heron Tree, Halfway Down the Stairs, The Blue Hour Magazine, Wigleaf, Cape Fear Review, Storyscape Journal, 300 Days of Sun, Glassworks Magazine, Autumn Sky Poetry, and Mud Season Review, as well as on a broadside from Broadsided Press, on postcards and bookmarks from the program Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf, in The Wardrobe, with audio and video recordings in The Poetry Storehouse, and in several anthologies including, most recently, a limited edition anthology on myth and magic from Sugared Water and Porkbelly Press. In addition to writing, Browning serves as editor of the Apple Valley Review.
“Refrain” originally appeared in Issue 4 of The Literary Bohemian April 2009.