Saturday, September 24, 2022

Three Poems by Karen Neuberg


I start with the intention to peel
the potatoes for a bubbly scallop
when I suddenly find myself
thinking they'd make better fries

only to quickly envision them
as hash browns for next day's breakfast.
It's like that with my writing -- an idea
comes to me in a way that feels

as if I'm channeling finger to finger
when suddenly "be more wild"
hurtles out of me as though it located
a path through a dense forest and I'm 

in the forest, measuring trunk sizes,
thinking about sentient life and looking
up at light patterns through leaves
while surrounded by sounds of birds

and scuttling creatures and breath.
I'm alive in breath. I want to pull it all
into myself.  Want to share it with the quick
of this world.  I don't want to waste

time or breath on worry.  But, there it is,
always pecking at me.  My liver aches
but I'm not chained to any mountain,
no eagle in a loop to tear my side.

Instead, I'm here with the potatoes
and my latest plan to keep their skins
and bake them, then split and slather them
with butter, sour cream, a dash of pepper.

Somewhere and Elsewhere and Everywhere

Agency of weather.  Of virus.  Of unrest.
Contingency planning, disaster planning.

History bleating, bleeding, bloating into the future into our eyes
crumbling into our bones.

Wind and rain rattling our doorways:
hurricane, tornado, downburst, cyclone, monsoon, derecho . . . 

Somewhere nothing remains upright.
Elsewhere, tremendous hours of watching

what's approaching.  And everywhere, everyone
knowing what's already arrived.

Just a Handkerchief of Thought

Just a handkerchief of thought -- there,
in its corner, the girl on a swing
is me.  My skirt lifts above my knees
& shrieks of joy carry through the years

past the moon and back,
through the waves, at the shore, around
the playhouse, into the kitchen, platter of sandwiches,
bowl of cut melon, my mother, still
young, holding out her arms to give a hug.

How I want to step in, step up
and introduce her to these two boys
whose hands I hold -- her great grandsons.

Karen Neuberg is the author of the full-length poetry collection,  PURSUIT (Kelsay Press) and the chapbook the elephants are asking (Glass Lyre).  Recent poems can be found in Big  City Lit, Nixes Mate, and MAINTENANT 16.  She is the associate editor of the online journal First Literary Review - East.

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