This Pause, Like Mist Rising / Dorothy Howe Brooks


This Pause, Like Mist Rising

poetry by

Dorothy Howe Brooks

73 pages, $14 (+ shipping)

Release Date: May 30, 2023

The Advance Sale price for this title has expired. For those who prefer to pay by check, the price is $18/book (which includes shipping) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001. 

PLEASE NOTE: Ordering in advance of the release date entitles the buyer to a discount. It does not mean the book will ship before the date posted above and the price only applies to copies ordered through the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.

Dorothy Howe Brooks’ previous poetry collection, A Fine Dusting of Brightness, was published in 2013 and her fourth chapbook, Subsoil Plowing, was published in 2020. Her work has appeared in many literary magazines, most recently in Valley Voices, California Quarterly, Broad River Review, Tampa Review, and Atlanta Review. Her poem “Hearing Loss” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Punta Gorda, FL with her husband.

The sea that flows through these poems is both subject and symbol, pulling us into liminal spaces of memory and time. Brooks is a poet as humbled by places of natural beauty, where light pours like water, as she is by the forces that spawn and decay them; her language is lucid as a still pool that teems, at the same time, with nuance and pith. ~Sharon Whitehall


Dorothy Brook’s poems never fail to startle and surprise. In her latest book, she considers a lifetime’s experience of joy, loss, and redemption: nature consoles as the environment degrades; memory animates “a blanket/folded a certain way,” while old photographs pulse like “light/from a receding galaxy.” Each poem captures the pinch of time as Brooks explores what endures through family, history, landscape, and art, her attentive eye always alert to “the pause, the afterglow/like mist rising.” ~Joyce Peseroff

Among the Many Who Have Always Lived Here

“the sea is not a question of power”
~Adrienne Rich, Diving Into The Wreck


This is the deep down place,
the place of muffled sound
and strange light, of unexpected
beauty, spiny shells, abalone,
pearls, of stillness beyond
the reach of storms, where tides
create a soft, undulating current,
nothing more, where grasses
sway on the sea bottom and tiny
creatures dart among the reefs.
The weight of the entire ocean
bears down, yet starfish and mollusk
float gracefully in the thick water,
weightless, like the sea maiden,
hair flowing down her back,
human but of the sea. The mermaid,
symbol and invitation. She tells us
this is our first home, we are born
from the sea, it is our destiny
to return, to find solace
in her soundless depths.

There always is such a place,
a place known to those who dare
live beneath the surface,
who are willing to explore the quiet,
those who understand
you breathe differently down here.



In Search of Waterfalls


Great fingers of light
pour like water

down the smooth trunk,
the up-reaching branches

of a solitary tree,
pooling at our feet:

ripples of light
on the forest floor,

a small oasis.
Clusters of galax

glisten in the silence
like lily pads on a pond.

We came in search of waterfalls,
their rush and tumble, their power,

not this quiet majesty,
this towering tributary

of light. We came
not knowing the place

or what we sought:
this moment out of time,

this pause, the afterglow
like mist rising.



White is the Color of Absence


The sparrows are gone.
Branches dusted with snow.
Barren branches,
reminder of what is missing.

The pond, glazed over,
reflects a weak sun, shards
of sunlight.

A great horned owl
sits in the crook of a tree, impassive,
like a snow owl.

A girl walks by, leaving
footprints. She walks
where the path should be

but there is no path. No
color but the red of her coat,

no sound but the crunch
of her footfalls. She alone

is movement, and the snow
drifting down, settling
on icy mounds long
sculpted by wind.

She enters her house,
shuts the door against the chill.

In time
even her footprints disappear.

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