Brionne Janae

If He Had Missed It Would Have Killed Him
February 20, 2023 Janae Brionne




my uncle said of the dog pa shot
dead between the eyes


it had come with a pack of his brothers
to murder the chickens in their coup
on an early pink morning


death a high whining whistle
pulling us all by the ear


the one pa shot had snarled and lowered his head
the hairs on its neck standing like spikes
while the hens lay a silent bloody mess


in the hay pa had poured out
for their comfort


when the gun fired
the other dogs ran off


and the sun went up into the sky


Brionne Janae is a poet and teaching artist living in Brooklyn. They are the author of Blessed are the Peacemakers (2021) which won the 2020 Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize, and After Jubilee (2017) published by Boat Press. Brionne is a 2023 NEA Creative Writing Fellow, a Hedgebrook Alum and proud Cave Canem Fellow. Their poetry has been published in Best American Poetry 2022, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The Sun Magazine, jubilat, and Waxwing among others. Brionne is the co-host of the podcast: The Slave is Gone alongside poet Jericho Brown and Rogue Scholar Aífe Murray. Off the page they go by Breezy.