PoetrySpring 2018

“Fashion Crisis” and Other Poems – Daneen Bergland

Fashion Crisis

The seagulls dip their wings
into the rainbows on puddles.
Hairspray holds the clouds up
and makes the oceans sultry.
What makes the tarmac glitter?
Everything comes from something.
This year the butterflies from Mexico
might miss the milkweed by a mile.
I never thought I’d be alone
enough to say this.
In my pursuit of happiness
(fruitless, like taking photos
of the full moon)
I forgot about silkworms.
I slept wrapped in polyester,
dreaming long purple rivers.
Now look what we’ve done to spring.
It’s sticky as a pop song.
But you should have seen how sexy Cincinnati was.
You could have kissed it on the lips.


Exit Strategy

Let’s meet where it is always someone’s birthday.
Cake is great for morale.
We’ll tell each other bedtime stories
of celebrity exploits, of news of yet another island—
we’ll call it Mars. I hear they are selling
only one-way tickets, that the equator
is a lot like Norway, but without the fish.
Let’s imagine our bodies vaulted
against the stars as our bones turn to jam.
In the movie you can play yourself.
Our daughter will make up the theme song
and sing it in her pajamas.
Terrible things will happen. Parking garages
pulled out like wisdom teeth and barrels
of soy sauce discharged out to sea.
It will be a relief each time you lose
what you can bear to lose.
But the end of the world will smell
like Cheerios whispered on a four-year-old’s breath.
So, let’s spend this long grief waiting
to finally fuck up beyond repair
this gorgeous machine.
It is what we were born to do.
We listen to the weather’s incessant bark,
a background panic we screen out
like any other pet peeve. You say you think nature’s
just lonesome for my company.
But here I am again, my face lit up
by my own personal spotlight.
Oh darling, how we ripen.
How would you find me in the dark?


Eve in Old Age

Has a shopping cart, a plastic bag
hat. She once collected cats,
sold words on cardboard,
the names she gave creatures
as each one died. But the rain—
a feeling there was nothing left
to say. Still, the dirt,

the pockets full of seeds.
She’s the one who plants
all the weeds. Never stops
talking. Insistent as the brittle map
of roots that’s left
when the white flower’s pulled,
the one that winds itself tight
as a cigarette each night.

Wedged in the small angle
of a bridge. The river at the edge
of her sleep gives her trouble
recalling silence. How hungry
it felt, the air before words.
And when she sings
all we hear are gulls
roiling over the parking lot.


Author Bio: Daneen Bergland’s poems have appeared most recently in Tahoma Literary Review, Hunger Mountain Review, The Cincinnati Review, and Alive at the Center: an Anthology of Contemporary Pacific Northwest Poets. She’s received a fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts and been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize.

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