Demon Brewin'
by Micah Ling

  1. When you stretch a hamstring by leaning down—
  2. touching toes—the tendon extends, sure, but it also pulls
  3. back. Your brain tells your muscles
  1. that you’re falling, and you are. And when you swing
  2. a leg up quickly, like a dancer, your brain tells your body
  3. that the leg is launching off, and away.
  1. It’s best to work with the body, instead of against it.
  2. The process is delicate and lengthy. Train yourself
  3. to avoid trauma, with warmth and pressure and comfort.
  1.           *
  1. For a while, I drove to work across the Cumberland River.
  2. I passed the Country Music Hall of Fame,
  3. and watched homeless men, uncomfortable, knocking
  1. on car windows for a coin or a sandwich. I drove
  2. to Demonbreun Street. For weeks,
  3. when the trip was still new, I thought, “Demon-brewin’”
  1. which makes sense, to see it written. Each time
  2. I drove, I imagined demons, brewing something
  3. awful: something thick—coffee and oil and shame.
  1. So sure and so wrong. Finally,
  2. I overheard a man at a bar give directions:
  3. a local, with confidence, even drunk.
  1. “Take Dem-un-bree-un to the edge of the city.”
  2. Oh, I thought, a little crushed: this changes
  3. everything. We learn quietly, like elephants.
  1.           *
  1. In war-torn Angola, with trunks to the ground,
  2. they have taught themselves to detect and avoid
  3. land mines. It can’t be determined exactly
  1. whether they smell the mines, or remember
  2. seeing horrible things happen to friends.
  3. But the elephants dance around destruction now:
  1. they avoid the things planted to cause ruin.
Packingtown Review – Vol.8, Winter 2016/2017

Micah Ling's most recent collection of poetry is Flashes of Life, out on Hobart Press. She lives in the mountains of Colorado.

  1. Ashley Warren
    Black Substancepoetry