In the hour of dreams

Tired in the hour of dreams

when clock hands slow to hold each other

and cigarette smoke unwinds

blue signatures in the air

Warm in the embrace of sunlight

the ground begs change

uproots itself from winter’s sorry smile

and turns its back to the sky

until April unfolds flowers

in places I thought life would never

grow again.



I think that this is the time of year to be sad.

The thin light, the frail dustings of snow.

Everyone is sick with something, love or death, a lack of magic;

it shows up everywhere on the body:

gathering under the eyes,

cracking the bottom lip,

softening and scratching the voice like strep.

I am sick with you,

sick without you;

somehow I finally understand

and it seems so unfair that it should happen for us this way,

staggered, at different times, on opposite sides of the coin.

Soul mates is a heavy phrase. I am afraid that you cannot

take the weight. Pain and love. Single syllables.

Sharp and poignant both, like shined knives. We had to set

our time aside, and it was like breaking a bone

just to watch it heal.

Lakes in Winter

A frozen lake unfolds and spreads between us.

I see it almost like curdling milk,

three drops of lemon juice and

the milk ruffles in clouds, thick and opaque and white.

I stand on one shore, you on the other,

Gray white ice under white gray sky

The color of cataracts in Elsie’s eyes.

It will snow soon, you say.

Your voice carries like a gull

From one gray bank to the other,

Equipped with the look of flapping wings

And feathers quivering in the thermals.

The ice on the lake looks smooth and hard as marble.

I begin to think Well what if this is just one piece

Of some vast table of marble hidden under the earth.

I’ve always loved marble, marbled bread, rolling marbles

Across the floor and listening to the sound of the spin

Against the wood.

I want snow! You yell, taking a wide stance and

Throwing your arms out to your sides.

Your voice balloons bigger through the air,

The sound breaking up against the trees and the sky.

From this side of the lake, so far away,

You look like a dark star, dressed in jeans and north face,

The five points of you reaching finite on the edge of

The ice unfolding frozen white, shore to shore.

–Jenna Bernstein