Brian Czyzyk


Brian Czyzyk lives and writes in Northern Michigan. He was awarded the 2017 Dan Veach Prize for Younger Poets from Atlanta Review, and has work published in or forthcoming from CutBank, Gulf Stream Magazine, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, Harpur Palate, and elsewhere. You can follow him on Twitter as @bczyzykwrites, if you like. He wishes you the best.


Eating Emily Dickinson’s Clothes

Her bonnet crunches like a floorboard breaking, and tastes of gingerbread. I can imagine its brim tipped through the window, a basket of cookies lowered to children who swell their cheeks with sweets, but never glimpse the baker’s smile. Each bite is a drumbeat that rings in my brain.

Her shoes are simple—brown like bread crust. I floss my teeth with the strings of her apron, then take in mouthfuls. The tulle links of her scarf crack and snap against my tongue. My jaw shivers. Clumps of sod lodge against my gums—each tooth a new tombstone.

When I clutch the sleeves of her dress, I catch wafts of ink, yeast, and lavender. I take it in as Eucharist—each stitch a psalm, a crumb of prayer. My molars make no sound as they grind the last of the hem. With my next breath, I learn how the air can burn my throat like brandy.