Michelle Kingdom © 2018

Michelle Kingdom © 2018


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.