A Snap Of Two Fingers; Clip From Tomorrow; Mildew; Spade; Dear Bird Catchers

A Snap of Two Fingers:

We just had to turn the car about

30 degrees west and the sun went

away like a child lost in the streets.

Or a man, sunken at his chest and

crying, the sea is dry, the fish have left me!

Yesterday, I heard about a blind woman

in Long Island who trespassed a burning

red sign and was found the next week,

sleeping by the wheezing engine of her car.

Her family fell apart. The husband escaped

to a slum and lived, like a rat in the tracks

of a subway. He felt his bones crack under

the wind of the trains each night, but

remained for the same reason a writer trudges

through the bitter paths of the imagination:

To suffer some more.

The family dog never wagged his tail

again. He traveled to the driest patch

of grass and licked just enough water

off the blades to stay alive, but he kept

himself thirsty for the same reason the

father stayed pulped under other people’s

weight and the writer kept writing.

The daughter became a poet. She breathed

in-between stanzas, ate when a metaphor

told her too. Floors foot-printed

in paper, books sprawled open like laundry,

black ink dripping from her chest

where the blood was

supposed to be.

Clip From Tomorrow:


Who saw us sitting here?

Drunken with details,

slumped over like cheap

dolls on shelves. We’ve been

watching the same news

broadcast since Friday, and

you’ve decided that you

like short women. And stamps.

And those final scenes from

Jaws where death becomes

something real and vivid and

red. Clouds burst against our

window like words on paper.

Blurring the rise of all winter snow.

Separating HUMAN and NATURE

like we would separate old magazines.



I feel like a large ocean.

Vast and inscrutable.


On Tuesday, just after the soldier’s march, but before the bloodshed,

right around the time a young boy’s body is being shrined in cow-skin,

and shipped to the grace of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah,

a man tells me there are five dead mice in the basement.

Teethmarks sawed through the walls like Antoni Gaudi envisioned. My littlest

boy with blood on his hands. Rehearsing his rights like a student, dragging their

heels over a paper-maid France.

In the future, he’ll be the

“sleepwalking killer.”

Where I live, behind

rose bush and graveyard, grief

is like a cancer. It makes a tree out of me and grows.

I am a lost petal on a shoe in winter. A forgotten cause in a forsaken house.

I, too, have asked questions:

Can bad memories ache?

Can good memories heal?

How many bodies have the workers burned since last Tuesday?

A hundred, two million? Why is counting idle? Because the world is still adding.

There are bodies tackling bodies on a tall hill,

forging families that we will soon be part of.

And all that will be, is our beautiful city, burning through what once was. what will be.

My mother is emptying ashes tomorrow.

A fish has reserved me.

A hungry man will swallow my heart off a hook and smile.


I’ve flipped through twelve years of living.

A short book of perceived images.

And now, there are church bells clashing in my sleep:

Eucharist, Vulture, Sleeping Child, Fallen Tree.

A wheel, flat from

the child spinning it.

Julius Caesar resting

over a red flower, humming

out the owls’ hoo-hoo, hoo hoo!

I haven’t seen the three sisters yet,

but I’ve smelled them through tunnels

in the clouds. They are lost wanderers.

Ominous grey-birds. Counting, measuring,

clipping off inches–

tossing me out of bed and catching me just before my

chin smacks the cold ground.

This is typical of a man my age.

A man with a bulldog’s house

and gift-wrapped skin. Who licks

his lips more often these days.

Who grunts. Falls. Sleeps.

A coarse throat much fonder of Chamomile.

A sprained ankle taking long walks in Summer.

Dear Bird Catchers

and it’s hard to sleep on a cold ground.

in white autumn days, i see a dog, busy

with the chores of its own tail. i see women

playing dead on porches. bathing suits in

trees. this curtain-crisp earth trying to suck

dry the final yellow days like a skinned lemon.

dear Joanne,

why is it so cold?

your nails. your hair.

the smell of oak

drifting past us.

Alex Greenberg, Age 13, Grade 8, The Fieldston School High School, Gold Key

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