Brown like the mahogany pews in the Rectory

my mother used to polish

as a side job when I was four,

trailing behind her with a bucket

of Pine-sol–that clean burning smell

of brown sloshing bubbles.


Brown like the carpet squares she

single-handedly pieced together

in our low-income house on Hwy 2,

her Cat Stevens’ filling my soul

like water as I spin and tap

in my hand-me-down corduroys.


Brown like the two-door Dodge Monaco

I was conceived in.


Brown like the side of my

daddy’s Old Style beer cans.


Like the hue of bruises.


My mother’s eyes

like chocolate…or almost

more so a brown crayon–if

you pressed hard enough

she’d see you.


My father’s gravestone

covered in October’s wet leaves,

the damp bark, the muddy puddles,

the brown smell of change.


And today, my own eyes a living sepia

staring back at me.

24 thoughts on “TONES

  1. oh heck… that made my heart ache amy… there can be good and not so good memories being tied to certain colors and it gives them a certain rotten “smell” that is not easy to get rid off…ugh..


  2. What powerful associations and memories – brown is indeed a colour not often admired, and yet it’s earth, with all its connotations both positive and negative.


  3. you infuse brown with lots of feeling as you take us on a journey through its intersection of your life….the bruises, gravestone, staring at your own reflection…makes an effective progression amy


  4. Oh, I like what the color suggestion brought out in you…brown has a lot of meaning for me as well…all of its shades strike a chord in my life as well…more so than a lot of others, they run the full spectrum..nicely done!


  5. Very fine work here — old memories all do seem sepia, and the more grievous ones become darker. A hard weave of memory here, heavy, yet the browns are intimate, are of home. Great work Amy, and Hi. I sure hope you’ve been well.


    1. Brendan, so great to hear from you. I’ve been well, thank you. And you? I gotta go read up your blog–for some reasons all the blogs I follow no longer come to my email.
      take care!


  6. Now this is what I call a POEM! You have really brought the meaning of the color brown in your life alive. Strong realism. Excellent.



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