Three Poems

Carol Berg


Abandoned Girl Standing in the Aftermath

Before Abandonment:
Dance of sugar ants dance of the double winged
dragonflies dance of the dandelions gone to frail seed

Swirl of bright hostas and crickets in their stop
and go songs

Swirl of the wind the wind the wind
cloud cover and proud clover and the startle

of first thread for a web floating across face
everything such a tender and green touch
During Abandonment:
Search all fires. Search all paths. Search a snowflake then curse its ignorance.
Pace. Search your palm for scars. Search the migrating birds for forecasts. Pace.
Search the footprints in the mud. Search the shadows the bare pine trees create.
Search the wind whispering good-bye to the leaves.
After Abandonment:
After the fires
after the emergency
trucks have all left
after the sirens’
wail after
scorched trees and
after smoke smell
that never quite
after the flattened
grass after
the firemen smoke
their regretful
after the ash
after the embers
and after the forgotten
sparrow loses
its spring song

Abandoned Girl Reads the Holy Words Upon Your Retreating Back and Thusly

My tongue now an instrument and radiating
Monkey flower and cinquefoil crush
Umbels on my tongue and the significance of eastward

The coastal grooves on my tongue Brilliance of
bobolink and bobolink and the rare brown creeper
Black-tasting on my tongue and the arboreal streaks

Viburnum Magnitate Nebula

On my tongue a conjunction of rills and splashing
Solar disks mimics a shadowed nectar backwards
Orbiting navigational circles and motion on my tongue

Nebula Magnitate Viburnum

Radiate my tongue radiates and radiating
My inner is now tongue tongue and the old moon
On my tongue owl’s clover and accurate and boundaries

My tongue is crater and nest
My tongue lungless and yet breathing

Abandoned Girl Names Her Neighbors

For the Carolina Wren whistling like a Western movie whip
such a distance her song fevers

For the garter snake engorged twice its size
regurgitating a too-large frog

For the purple irises shyly beside the river bank

For the stopped turtle tunneled inside itself on a shifting street

For the mayfly in its elegant curve
and the corollary brown speckled trout’s mouth

For the demon mosquito trapped between escape and screen
For the dandelion and timothy grass, sweet and wild

For the dying lilac crushed into rust
For the just burst forth forsythia bush

For the husk of a dead June beetle prostrate on the wet porch
For the mud puddle I dog-like slurp from

For the Asian dogwood and for the red Japanese maple leaves
For the fox turning back into the woods

For the woods unto I follow her
and for the paths I shall come to know

Carol Berg photo

Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in DMQ Review, Sou’wester, The Journal, Spillway, Redactions, Harpur Palate, Verse Wisconsin, Zone 3, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Her Vena Amoris (Red Bird Chapbooks), is available and her chapbooks, Ophelia Unraveling and The Ornithologist Poems, are available from dancing girl press. She was a recipient of a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.