Poems by Deborah Bernhardt




Greatest fantasy:
sex on the anyplace

or a double layout half twist—
sticking it to emblazoned caps?

Landing such characters
in a row. Only so many

the bluebird
sings with resignation.

Stormy talking of Michaels.
Oh, do ask, “What is it?”

I am claws scuttling—
white-knuckled, white-useless.



…accedes to immortality/and in his imprisonment rises…
— “What Are Years,” Marianne Moore

Finback with amber waves of mouth.
Flaxen combs for the sea’s smallest.

Filter-feeder necropsied
by the Cape Cod Stranding Network

who divvy and hack.
Oglers grip coffees

but hoist up turtlenecks.
Funk of decomposition

funhouses the tongue
of this tonnage

of beauty, towed inward.
What are years. What are years.

“You’re thinking about it,
not asking anyone to come and answer you.”


Then Down from the Skies Came the Wooden Shoe


Slowly a skeletal etch in place of where a place will be.

Refresh. Pip pip— image gaps become incarnate—

terra-cotta chimneys like cinnamon sticks, bitten and bitsy.

Allez-oop the 360° roofs. New window.

Search ceil chimneys. Did you mean: sail chimneys.

I am was in Paris when I is another someone else.

With Wynken, Blynken, and Casio, hour hand sweep.

Who nod, blink, and wink at the hydrogen interstellar jukebox.

Missing one place, search another another.


Deborah Bernhardt is the author of Echolalia (Four Way Books) and Driftology (New Michigan Press/DIAGRAM).




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