House of Abundance Poetry: ‘a challenge’ by poet Genevieve Brown speaks to nature

House of Abundance Poetry: ‘a challenge’ by poet Genevieve Brown speaks to nature

House of Abundance Poetry’s four-year anniversary event fell in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In absence of the physical gathering of this mighty community, ALL ARTS partnered with House of Abundance Poetry and introduced an ongoing series with a single-word prompt for each writer: quarantine.

Collective member Genevieve Brown is originally from Louisiana and has been living in New York for the past eight years — most recently settling in a brownstone in Bed-Stuy. Before joining the collective, Brown had been an admirer of House of Abundance Poetry from afar, following along with events and the support the collective lends to the community. She’d only just worked up the courage to attend an event when the health crisis struck. She looks forward to attending in person soon, even if it’s in a face mask.

Here is her quarantine poem submission, “a challenge.”

“a challenge,” by Genevieve Brown

to the staunch cherry tree outside my window
baring your skeleton for so many months
if it weren’t for winter
i’d think you were dead
even the birds prefer the risk of powerlines
rather than make a home out of you

you must be tired
as the main attraction
for the eyes in every window
of this collection of brownstones
every year your hibernation is an exhibition
where the real show opens in spring
maybe you’ve been watching me hibernate in turn
you on your backyard stage
and the eyes in their own dimly lit dioramas
nothing to do but watch what unfolds

a recent shift towards warmer weather
draws my gaze once again out the window
to your branches now bubbling with pink
I see your blooming and raise you
a miraculous transformation, immaculate conception of the self
this spring I want to blossom once more

Find a full schedule of poems, to be released weekly in partnership with House of Abundance, here. For more information, future events, and general updates from the community, follow House of Abundance on Instagram at @abundancehouseof.

Top Image: Photo of Genevieve Brown.