the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Karen Neuberg


Getting ready to stir up a memory can be like
coming upon an inquisitive child holding a stick,
studying an anthill. When the arm lifts, you
intercede, admonishing with your tiny, Zen-bell
voice. Fascinating as it might be, who wants
such a scattering and its ensuing mayhem
unsettling across the flowerbed, disoriented
workers frantically trying to save the queen.
She sits somewhere, deep, below, protecting
the future, swollen with memory.

(from Detailed Still, Poets Wear Prada Press, 2009)


en route

You're cruising the highway
that takes you from your house
to the beach,

and it's all sunny and expectant
within the car, whether you're with
your imperfect family

or a boy you wished had been
someone else instead. Or perhaps
you're pretending to be someone else,
someone who faced the ordinary
with spontaneity, who could feel
the music in front of strangers or sing

out from her throat so enchantingly
birds sat in her palms.
You were younger then

than you ever were again
except now, cruising
on the road, in the car, during

the ride into sleep. And some blessing
falls onto you. You become
all you have been and all

you haven't been,
each holding the other
lovingly in the car

of your body, of your heart, this person
you've been waiting for
who has been yours all along

going somewhere
you've never actually been
but yet somehow remember perfectly.

(from Detailed Still, Poets Wear Prada Press, 2009)



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