There's something toxic in the rain. Everything delicious there is best murdered young. Salmon follows tapioca, air conditioning mutes any possibility of a yard. I like that it’s on the ground
floor, hamburger tiles, the “y” area. The sharpened floor, the arms in your face, and eighteen ways of smelling no. There is no perfect outfit to wear
to dinner at a castle, but I hear it’s drafty, castles where most of the people who sleep there are liars. This would be the villanelle in purgatory, risking
being caught pretending to be awake, learning the deficiencies of both pine and oak. We will lose the knowledge of mourning; our griefs will be
forever with us, our bodies fixed in the opposite of closure, our pens readied in the cases of things which never come: remember: elevators, true love,
revolutions with no love for their own pasts. We are unspectacular, unremarkable, fucked by time and things we can’t buy and get for free. I melt,
you cope, listen up, this is what we will have to pay for having squandered chances in earlier life, thinking death would be this beauty-filled place with granite counters.
Ten Things the Snake Will Not Tell You
Seventy-self portraits are more than adequate.
Your ribs taste like burnt orchids.
A river of lives resembles an ocean of chickens.
It is possible to fail a DNA test, even if you cheat.
The thing you thought you thought was right.
Your lids are green and easy to detach.
Dropping towards the ground in case of disaster is disaster.
The second set is free.
People who take things literally are thieves.
Don’t fixate on photos taken by wives.
-- Erica Bernheim is an Assistant Professor of English at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Her first full-length book was published in 2012 by 42 Miles Press, and it is called The Mimic Sea. Also, her poems have appeared most recently in the Iowa Review, Columbia Poetry Review, and Saw Palm.