Brian Heston '00 earned his BA in literature and creative writing. Since attending Burlington College, Heston has received and MFA in fiction writing from George Mason University and an MFA in Poetry from Rutgers University. His poems have won a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and his first full length manuscript, “If You Find Yourself,” was just awarded the Main Street Rag Book Prize. It will be published in November 2014.
Below are two selections from "If You Find Yourself."
After it came, my mother went out and walked the trail
along the river in the high morning heat. This place used to be only
weeds and garbage. We called it hobo heaven because of the train
that ran here, and all the veiled spaces to hide a refrigerator box.
Now, everywhere, it was blooming and oblivious: juvenile poplars
bloated with leaves, peaceful joggers, lovers holding hands.
She sat at a bench overlooking the water, a brown froth
swirling with plastic debris. She hung her head, wondering
how she could tell us the news. “Whatado? Whatado?”
Birds asked from the trees. “Screwed! Screwed!”
Other birds replied. She looked back to the river, thinking.
That’s when she saw the two mallard corpses floating
towards her on the river's surface, feathers black and filthy
as an engine block. As they passed by, falling into the distance
like dreams, she struggled to make out the thin white rope
of their necks hanging beneath the murk.
IF YOU FIND YOURSELF ON AN UNKNOWN STREET
for my sister
Don’t ask for directions
from the man in the golden fedora
and pinstriped lavender suit.
Let the one star be your guide.
Soon it will perch above
the iron cross of the cathedral’s
bell tower. When the bells chime
the star may sing, but you must
point your ear at the distance
like a confused German Shepherd
to hear it. Turn into an alley.
The cindering eyes of rats
will shine your way. No,
you won’t see God, but your voice
will continue butterflying until
your mouth is unable to contain it.
Try not to think of your husband:
caresses he gave you, moons
you shared, or the fetid stink
left in the room after
the undertaker took him away.
Instead, search the facades
of the buildings, all those
tiny tabernacles of light.
And if something sees fit
to whisper, listen back.
A chapbook, “Latchkey Kids,” is due out from Finishing Line Press in July of 2014. His poetry and fiction has appeared in such publications as Many Mountains Moving, Rosebud, Lost Coast Review, West Branch, Harpur Palate, 5AM, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Poet Lore, South Carolina Review, and is upcoming in Cider Press Review and Tampa Review. Presently, he is a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at Georgia State University.