Foreword Reviews

Requiem for Used Ignition Cap

J. Scott Brownlee is a founding member of The Localists, a literary collective based on place-based writing and cultural grounding, so it follows that he dedicated this debut collection to rural Llano, Texas, his home. He earned his MFA at NYU and currently works at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

IV. Indian Paintbrushes

Our scent is sweet, but we will poison you.
Selenium-filled, we’re metallic creatures.

You wouldn’t think it at first glance. With our red
petals rising up from Texas dust you can’t see

that beneath them we’re pure parasite feasting
on spear grass roots. We require a host to turn

our bodies into what all beauty is at its source:
illusion. Call us greedy, the flawed fiends

we always have been, and forgive our natures.
We have wanted to bloom and bleed and be

honest guides here despite hundred-plus days
of heat where a nap beneath live oak shade

might just kill you. Here we have stolen
but also given. Here our bodies’ rot blooms

other wildflowers. Here in this landscape
of the damned where drought plagues

rattlesnakes, even, await your visit.

Reviewed by Matt Sutherland

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the author for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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