hobart logo

July 31, 2014 Poetry

Two Poems

Monica Berlin

Two Poems photo

On either end of this year, on either end of every goddamn year,

there are days without. Not quite a gap in whatever they call it, the space-

time continuum or circadian rhythms or the tidal pull of every single thing,
not quite, but noticeable enough to know what’s not here, that others are not here,

that on this bricked stretch of aging birch & maple, in this windowed-house
far from any ocean, we’re each alone, together. I don’t dream any of you

here, not yet, although in sleep, I puzzle things back—which I do,
sometimes—though other things piece apart. Before I ever saw the gesture

of my son’s body in the sonographer’s monitor, I’d tell his father we were
dreaming him whole every single day. After the first ultrasound,

after the specialists, I never said the phrase again. As if the very words might’ve
been to blame for what my body did to his. Listen, I can’t quite

get it all right: the correct order of an adage, calling up the grocery list left
on the kitchen table, the distance from street to curb, how to say, You

have meant the world to me. Now, in dreams, everyone I love limbless.
It’s so transparent, I know, but I can’t help myself. In one, the boy

I could love raised what remained of his arm & grazed my cheek
with what was left, stroked my jawbone. I remember the timbre

of my dream-whisper when I held him to my body, touched his fine hair,
told him of the map the nerves make, what they remember for us, the way

the chest can become a home to all those lost fingertips, the prints
of each of us, the way the heart can hold every missed & missing hand.


Because all day the sky held back

what it wanted most to say, & just now, couldn’t
keep its tongue, hailed down. Now

the windows & gutters & sopping,
even the siding trembling, my mouth

turned metallic, & how the unsaid bites
through the softer parts of any hour

& tastes like disappointment,
everything undone & puddling

under the eaves where nothing stays
secret when we stand there long enough.

I’d like to say I’ve heard it all before, sky,
but tonight’s different, the kind of revision

almost unrecognizable, somehow. That hail
against the roofline begins to sound out

every word I could never utter aloud,
that no matter, that I’ve been done talking

for a long stretch, all that, while it keeps
repeating & repeating.

image: Tara Wray


SHARE