Two Poems by Emily Bernard



Virginal – winding as a wordy tour of a world
For thrill rides – a four-minute toast to a man

There is a limelight and you are green
With envy only a few crayons short of

A full rack you do not understand the story until
The end. You are an A. You learn the ABCs fast

You flew the coop – ruined
Roses wanting better thorns

You are blind and a stranger’s touch alone will
Save what crouched inside is still worth saving


build carefully — you are a free
range animal carving

a memorial totem pole — stacking
past loves on a stick to bang

the Earth in prayer
to tap hot veins of oak, spread

open to trap old flames
in amber resin — you are not one

to leave the tree exhaling its
unstuck sap — to walk away

stiff as the pages of an
unopened book, still tempted

to follow the moon for its
astral heart — but as an enormous

body of water
will impale its own

cold shore — this is how the sky
drowns its castles

on the rough
slough of an imperfect axis

about the author:

Emily Grace Bernard’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Sixth Finch, Word Riot, Heavy Feather Review, Stone Highway Review, The Boiler: A Journal of New Literature, The Adroit Journal, Whistling Shade, and Susquehanna Review, among others. She lives in Los Angeles, CA and can be found at