Karen Neuberg

Forcing It into Light

It. Say it, not knowing what. – Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable i. Is it pretty? Can you thread it? Does it bore? Will it fill? Can it hold? Does it roar? Is surrender still a word, or even desire? Does it matter? ii. Isn't she swift, two-stepping her daily, trampling obligation into default. Precision on mirrors down a hallway of mirrors – she glimpses herself coming toward herself and sees someone she saw once in childhood who scared her. iii. Playing on the earth with sticks, arms and legs sunburned & skinny slats. But arms and legs move fast as she taps her feet, rat-a-tat tat, being a wild dancer. She's wild about sky, especially blue between fat, clean clouds shaped like lambs and ladders. The whole idea of sky drives her and she prances with sky over the blazing sidewalks, up and down her block, swinging past neighbors. She’ll swirl like sky someday! iv When she leaves, she finds herself inside herself on the bed of her nicest breasts or stirring rainbow fusilli in the ever-changing agitation in the amazing tarantella . . . v. Her mother visits last night from the wall even while she is the wall – and she says to her mother don't ! you don't have to be have to think you have to come back to me in your bent, in your broken in your salt-balm stinking sorrow in the weather in the wind – Won't you be instead my stalwart dark-eyed mother who ruled the sky-drenched sidewalks of my instead of later when every ache caught your cushions snagged your bundles sagged you . . . vi. Unwind the smoke. Unsnarl the smoke. Separate smoke with hands. Unspiral the curl, unfurl the cloak, unseal the seam; – reveal! such ragged brevity. vii It being not even wet – yet I dangle, poised to plunge. I prefer immersion – as though it is water I look up from, out from, into sky – sky still heaven far away me buoyant under its press.

Karen Neuberg’s chapbook, Detailed Still, is available from Poets Wear Prada Press (2009). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 42Opus, DIAGRAM, PoetryBay and others. She’s a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, holds an MFA from the New School and is associate editor of Inertia magazine.