Before sleep, you count
the years that have undulated
out from the moment you stayed put:

Little concentric days.
The cedar in the backyard lived
long enough to lend acidity

to the tomatoes ringing its trunk,
a rubied skirt. Widow-maker,
the surgeon diagnosed:

No clear-story left.
The zygote did not last.
From the stump of night,

you leave the day’s gray curb,
its pitted, yellow speed-bumps,
sirens that swarm

like bees in search of deadwood;
past saplings in blue plastic cages,
grafted to the dark –

No news until the day
you are cut down
and someone’s small fingers

read the raised rings. Nailbeds
passing over.


Kristin Berger

About Kristin Berger

Kristin Berger lives in Portland, Oregon, and is the author of a poetry chapbook For the Willing (Finishing Line Press, 2008), co-editor of VoiceCatcher 6 (2011), and curates her blog, Slipstream. Her essays and poems have appeared in Calyx, The Blue Hour, Mothering, New Letters, Passages North, and The Pedestal Magazine, among other publications. Kristin was awarded OSU/ Spring Creek Project’s Andrews Forest Writers Residency for November 2012.
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