PoetryIssue 14 | February 2012

Berlin

by Sy Margaret Baldwin

1

Flanking the museum entrance are two smoke-blackened,
headless figures. Their heads were lost in the war. Their mouths
are lying open somewhere like small caves in the weeds.

Today a heavy fog rolls between the office blocks.
If the statues could speak their voices would be
like the first hairs of frost in a hard winter.


2

I am waiting on the edge of a bleak construction site
on which four zebra-striped cement mixers
are rotating smoothly, churning out

their tonnage of cement. Behind me on a billboard
a giant hamburger bun is dripping a waterfall of cheese
that coagulates in a sticky pool at the exact level
of my neck. A current of windblown leaves

splits around the glass-and-steel buildings. Hooded crows
hop sideways among flying fast-food wrappers.

From somewhere amidst the rubble the authorities
have transported the capital of a neoclassical column and
deposited it among the flowerbeds

and ornamental trees of a city park. Lonely and bullet-pocked,
it is ignored by the troupe of red-capped children
running past it, kicking through the dry leaves.

Surrounded by stripped branches, facing winter,
perhaps I should dye my hair orange. Perhaps
sorrow will rise up and disappear in my orange hair.

About the author

Sy Margaret Baldwin is English by birth but has spent most of her adult life in California. As a birdwatcher she has trailed after Honey Buzzards in Sweden, Snowy Owls in Scotland, and Blue Rock Thrush on Gibraltar. Her poems have appeared in Calyx, Hanging Loose, Poetry Now, Pirene’s Fountain, and other journals.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok