Friday, April 6, 2018

"Rain" by F.J. Bergmann

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Rain” by F.J. Bergmann.  Bergmann edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. Her work appears irregularly in Analog, Asimov's, Polu Texni, Pulp Literature, Silver Blade, and elsewhere. Her “A Catalogue of the Further Suns,” a collection of dystopian first-contact reports, won the 2017 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook contest.  Visit her at

"Chip" Watercolor & Ink on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
F.J. Bergmann

An empty stoneware coffee cup has a chip in it.
The chair is shabby, but the vinyl floor is clean.
The year resumes its journey toward the infinite;
the guy behind the counter leafs through a magazine.

The counterman reads dating tips in his magazine;
there’s not much business at this time of day.
The faded chair is dirty, but the floor is clean.
Small black coffee, to go—he wishes she would stay.

A small black cat moved in; he hopes that she will stay
at least until the rains stop and the weather’s warm.
Customers come in more often later in the day.
Water streams down windows as they gaze out at the storm.

They sip their coffee slowly and stare out at the storm.
A white-striped green umbrella drips water on the floor.
The woman near the radiator moves closer to get warm.
Her worried eyes keep glancing toward the door.

She thinks her missing husband might come through the door.
That last time they argued, he just up and went.
The green-and-white umbrella left puddles on the floor.
In her purse is an old letter that her daughter sent.

Her pregnant daughter’s letter seemed to assent
to moving back home, bringing the baby with her.
She must have lost her courage after her lover was sent
back to prison. She was under the weather

with morning sickness; she must have wondered whether
it was easier just to turn on the gas and go to sleep
than to wait and wait, watching their lives wither,
easier to splint her limping strength enough to leap

over the wall between the two dark worlds,
falling from less than twenty years into the infinite
spin of stars spiraling like cream that swirls
into black coffee, in a cup that has a chip in it.

Poet’s Notes:  This loose pantoum, using variant lines to indicate temporal progression, is a fictionalized extrapolation from a reported suicide I read about in a Maryland newspaper many years ago. 

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