by Carol Westberg
once more with no feeling
Everyone is talking about the new moon,
blood moon, and another thing. Soon it will be time to go
so love the slab you stand on. Inside the body
a willow catches fire in this minute,
in the next, in the unreal country of next year.
That breath is past. Another vagrant passes through. Inside
like outside space expands
in the ambient anxiety of my night watch.
After the surgery, I felt relieved
to not have sex. No, I don’t want to talk about it now.
Maybe in the lifespan of an ant, of a mountain range
heaved up from the sea I will find two sticks
to rub together for fire. I slide my fingertips lightly from
collarbone down breastbone to the hollow
that separates what remains of cleavage—soft slope
to the right, taut ridge to the left—search
for the margins of sensation, for endings, beginnings
as feeling appears or disappears, skin warm to touch
but numb as an empty bowl.
Carol Westberg’s Terra Infirma was a finalist for the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry, and Slipstream was a finalist for the New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry. Carol's poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, B O D Y, Hunger Mountain, Valparaiso Poetry Review, CALYX, and other journals.