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Dear So & So (excerpt)

Some Day We’ll Wake To Find Some Day No Longer

needs convincing. The life we’re living will just be hours,
however unrecognizable: the fact of that starling

trapped. Panic turned pipe noise. Or the fact
of any bird’s name—another says

thrush, another common sparrow, another
poor species turned invasive, like we

all are, —& the fact
of displacement. Nothing can make

a home in a basement’s crated & nested & shelved
cities of forgotten. & elsewhere? If all trace

of habitation erased, blame the bay.
If a city carries long its grief, name it

& lay a stone. If centuries, there
at the bottom, shipwrecked, call it a preserve,

& invite diving birds: loon, night
heron, shriek, laughing gull, tern,

shearwater. Below sea-level, whole cities
lagoon. Their foundations cellar-less. Steeled,

our doors aslant against another unforgiven
wintered sky preserve everything

& nearly forget. Nothing will hold
on any where. So, imagine

a bird on a perch in a cage, wide-open.
Imagine a small song that could call.

Dear city sieged & grieving,
where so many

open windows have so little to say,
might broken worded sorrow flutter out

at the sight. Understanding,
another revolution: those slow

channels, their revolving names—now none
exist on dry land. So, to understand the bay—the bay

in resolve, night-lit—let’s cross on foot. As if
no fare could shrug it off & then

cross again & all these empty pockets turn out a sail.


{To read more poems in this series, please purchase Issue 39.1.}


Monica Berlin’s recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crazyhorse, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Cincinnati Review, TriQuarterly,Ninth Letter, Witness, Rhino, The Southeast Review, Third Coast, The Missouri Review, DIAGRAM, Quarterly West, Ellipsis…, Vela, and Passages North, among others. She is the project director for The Knox Writers’ House.

Beth Marzoni lives by the confluence of three rivers. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, American Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Crazyhorse, New Ohio Review, DIAGRAM, TYPO, and Colorado Review, among others. She is co-editor of Pilot Light, a journal of 21st century poetics and criticism.