[Where, these days,
after that turning back, a still]

Monica Berlin


Where, these days, after that turning back, a still

smaller space, in shade, or from full light to shade, say
a rhythm made by sky, made into tiny doors that lead out

toward somewhere where in pure color any beginning
a hue of pleasure, bone branching into some landscape less

—less obvious, less ours. Today holds no need of
any definite line. Today no need to break against surface

or the horizontal order. What I mean is, today’s all vertical.
Not quite a field of or proximity to, not any wilderness,

not a maple-lined boulevard stretching wide to nothing,
not even a forest scaffolding that cloudless, that blue,

but where we are, slight lean, windward facing, always.
Through a frame, a window or not unlike a window, maybe

a threshold set down then crossed, long ago, where
the artist might have placed this hour in a box, this month

makes of time a miniature, reminds us our proportion
to the world in our way. Without relic or souvenir, without

parting gift, any tree kindly lets us—whoever came down
the sidewalk, shadow-casting & clumsy—keep company.


Monica Berlin’s “No Shape Bends the River So Long,” a collaborative collection of poems with Beth Marzoni, was published in 2015. Her solo work has appeared or is forthcoming in many journals. Berlin serves as associate director of the Program in Creative Writing and chair of the English Department at Knox College.