Covert, hardly cordial, came commands
from the quarters, hind
and head. Twin branches of the same
government. My mind: heretic, fiend
for fashion, my rhetoric
a couture magazine, all pictorial
content. Back issues abundant, still,
in the pews, the waiting room,
meant for other congregants hell-
bent on staying empty.
In them, as in me, no creed
but beauty, and a brain pretending scorn
for beauty. Chimes of the church I
worshipped: the unholy body, well-read.
No holes to speak of. No heart.
Michelle Chan Brown’s Double Agent was the winner of the 2012 Kore First Book Award, judged by Bhanu Kapil. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, The Missouri Review, Quarterly West, Sycamore Review, Witness, and many others. A chapbook, The Clever Decoys, is available from LATR Editions. A Kundiman fellow, Michelle has received scholarships and fellowships from the University of Michigan, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Wesleyan Writers’ Conference. A former writer-in-residence at Pomfret School, she lives in DC, where she teaches, writes, and edits Drunken Boat.