Bruce J. Berger


You don’t remember how we used to love
in that cold desert of the year that King was killed,

how in that turbulence of Cronkite keeping score
            each night of the dead of war
            we lay there locked together, lost in separate worlds, lost lying
                        and lying

how beyond our bodies we knew the moon maddening march of bullets
            and blood and Newark rioting to flames

how we loved even as we spoke of hell and heard RFK remind us
            of pain which cannot forget falling drop by drop

You don’t remember how we used to love
           in that frozen moment of turmoiled time,

how when you thrust your spearmint flavor into the cavern of my mouth
           and struggled to suppress your scream
           we heard your folks in the next room
           smugly chatting of the Ivy League,

how for that one second you gave nothingness to being,
           being and nothingness,
           and we clutched in desperation, tears sprung from different pools,

how you cried to be pardoned from the prison of that antiseptic town,
           and I cried when you were so absent
           absent even as I touched you there
           touched you, touched you knowing I really didn’t

I suck from these moments every drop, by bitter gall, by unrelenting force,
          rewrite these seconds for fifty years

and though I see us standing there
           hand in hand
           wondering at Rilke and Thomas and Ginsberg,
                       as we journeyed to the center of the flesh
and though I hear you saying do not despair
and still taste your kissing me goodbye

and though I still feel our last embrace, I’m never really sure now because
I can’t remember how we used to love.

Bruce J. Berger received his MFA in Creative Writing from American University, where he worked with poets David Keplinger and Kyle Dargan. His poem “From the Maternity Ward” previously appeared in the Innisfree Poetry Journal, and other poems have been published in a variety of literary magazines. His poem “In the Last Room With My Father” won first prize in Montgomery Magazine's 2018 poetry contest. He lives in Silver Spring, MD, with his wife, Laurie.



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Bruce J. Berger

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Dan Campion

John Delaney

Katherine Fallon

David Lee Garrison

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