Poem of the Week: Emily Berry

The degenerating anatomic structures of your body

I move from blank mouth to empty face.
Things don’t get better, they get worse.
And you know what that feels like.
(I made myself a lullaby once.)
Everything that came out was pre-deleted.
I presented it anyway, with a flourish.
The river is scratched out, mother,
and the people who want to live here,
they won’t survive. This is where it happened,
in the hottest part of the desert,
I never went there. I pretended your body
had nothing to do with it. Stop, because,
your actual bones exist, and if I could,
I would bear them with a fiery zeal,
with the fury of all dead mothers’ children
I would bear your actual bones, and I do.

from Emily Berry, Stranger, Baby (Faber & Faber, 2017). Used with permission from the author.


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