poem



by Andrew Najberg



How to Carry On



Hard to avoid poisons

in soil and shelved

in sealed boxes.

They say the earth,

the water,

sooner or later the stars.


Even blowing kisses adds carbon.


We can’t wear our own skin

without worry, shouldn’t be allowed

to allow ourselves

genuine human affection.


At the park, I walk my daughter under kite

strings and past drone pilots.

A grandfather with charcoal bricks

at his heel presses burgers

against a grill.


My girl kneels in the grass

and bites the head off a dandelion.

Look daddy, I’m a horse,

she sputters, already in search

of another. I rest my hand

on her shoulder,


pull her nose from clover.


Of course you are.


We talk about things that only matter

in that we’re talking, run

around each other on the incline

until the sun falls low over the trees.


It grows cool

as parents pack their kids into car seats.


The swings ease still on their chains.

The metal slides,

crickets land on their rails.


Is it nighttime?

And I want to say not yet,

that the dark isn’t total,


but light dims behind mountains

and no moon has risen

to lead the way.


 

Andrew Najberg is the author of the collection of poems The Goats Have Taken Over the Barracks (Finishing Line Press, 2021) and the chapbook of poems Easy to Lose (Finishing Line Press 2007). His individual poems have appeared in North American Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Nashville Review, Louisville Review, Bat City Review, Yemassee, Artful Dodge, Istanbul Review, and many other journals and anthologies both online and in print. His short fiction has appeared in Fleas on the Dog, The Wondrous Real, Psychopomp Magazine, and Bookends Review.