Two Poems from the Spring 2012 Issue of 2RV

Katherine Berta


You, of whom
I am supposedly made,
tighten your fingers
around a lung.
If you open out
I am splayed,
meant to be
carved up;
in it there is a justice—
take me away from here,
this filet going to him,
that to her,
everything in pieces.

You told me
you’ve changed your mind—
there’s no such thing as sin,
only the division of a person
from parts of himself,
the organs seceding
one after another,
the thoughts too.
What, then, am I,
meted out—
what can I contain
(everything defined
by what it holds)—this bone
there, that spleen, heart?
If you take me,
you take me apart.

To Sew, To Cook

We take the work in hand.
You take it by the hip, to guide it,
you say. You shoot
from the hip, as they
say. The lisping consonants
work themselves, trace
the edges of a lip, laze against
the head of a bed.

The things you say here
gather meaning to meaning,
a ruching, a folding over,
a bending
to reveal something
gross or intimate.
A thing built to contain.

We put things inside—
let us jar
sugar, flour, let us
shelve the jars. This is
comforting, the arabesque
of a kitchen. The folding logic
of appliances
meant to be stored. Once it’s gone
inside, it is gone. Once we eat,
we eat.
Make it about
containment—what may I hold
with my hands
or otherwise? What may I hold
in my mouth?

from The 2River View, 16.3 (Spring 2012)

About Richard Long

I'm a Professor of English at Saint Louis Community College--Meramec, where I teach composition, creative writing, environmental literature, and poetry. I also edit 2River, home of the 2River View, the 2River Chapbook Series, and Muddy Bank. You can also follow me on my bicycle as I tour the country, self supported, at
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