KARINA VAN BERKUM


Karina van Berkum is from quaint New Hampshire, but is currently teaching kindergartners
in Bratislava, Slovakia. The move was a whim and she is thrilled to be writing her way
through Europe! In 2007, her poems were published in Wagner College’s it’s literary magazine,
The Nimbus, and in 2010 her poem “When You Say ‘Pass the Red Spraypaint’” was published
in Autumn Sky Poetry.






Prague and Tongue

Like Tongue, the word
Prague is spelled
for its swollen center

and placement,
which snakes before
it stalls.

This winter I hid inside
both for a while
while the leadfaced

neighbors worked fast
on their own
obsessions. Alone,

I learned to be in love
with neither town
nor appendage

whose shining, wasted
forms ache against
one another:

Prague from Tongue
in a moment of silent
lunacy, say,

and Tongue sitting wet
in a gray station,
dying to go.






Morning Is A Rabbit

I said that morning
is a perfect rabbit.
When you died,

I needed the soft
binge of like a like
comparison.

Your socks were -
are! - limp with
the furnace.

Death like a stallion?
Too purposed,
missionary.

Death like a sleeping
dog. Too literary,
too brown.

Death like a serpent?
I ask at the sky
so you’ll know it.

Too biblical, you
smirked from my
idea of where you are.

Forget the past
while death dangles
nameless on the blind beams

of THIS moment and
laughs while it eats
its morning rabbit.







Lonely in Peru

This is the first day
of my dying houseplant
in dreamy July.

It looks like
a wet head from
that window's hip.
I know

in August, quiet with heat,
I will still watch it. I will peek
out the sill towards the murdered

dust in our street so
its small life will be from
me, Hallelujah.

In September
my houseplant will rain off
its more mindless parts:

The body will tense
into sharp nests of dangling arms
and legs,

the sill will spill
them in disgust like
its own threat or habit.

The locals will step on a pile
of relieved plant, the tourists
veer and sigh.






If I Can Lose Everything

If I can lose everything
and be rich in loss,
how will that look
on me?

How will I be
while it is happening -
my soul as coveted
and sick

as a warm
feeling when it is
rare? I think if I did
(lose everything),

all the feeling I do now
and so abhor might too be lost,
like a small ticket,
on the same
ripe day.



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