"Bird Watching," "Old Cartographer," and "The Whole Place Is Moondipped"

Bird Watching

Albatross with winged eyes and careful fades
And ancient pride waits for one new
Albatross on an edge of angry sea.
She cries horribly
As I sidle up to her egg
To show my still-swollen middle
Where mine shrank back to sleep on me.



Old Cartographer

Rivers riddle the map of a mind
Whose sickness, indiscernible
But wild, is riled.
The heart’s map is another
Matter. Without the delicate N
Of orientation, it sprawls
Bright on big walls growing
Ranges labeled in languages
Nobody speaks.
The map of the eye is torn
And bare. It stares – stars
And borders unassigned
When unrolled
Like a scroll one more
Terrible time.



The Whole Place Is Moondipped

From the grimiest barstool in the belly of a borough
You say this city is a river. I say it’s a sea. You say no,
A river for its constancy, those slick coats
In a row and the daily shoop of dreams
Dipping into manholes. At least a river
Has direction, you say.
But my city is a point-less mass and
I am a big animal caught up in it. The whole place
Is moondipped! I have learned to go with the swells —
Froth topped, heady, heavy, heavying me. Trying
Not to sink looks like swimming but I am ready
For a wet hibernation, I say.



Karina van Berkum is an editor, poet, and teacher. Her work has appeared in publications such as Ploughshares, Five Points, and Strange Horizons, for which she received a Rhysling Award nomination. She was a 2016 Robert Pinsky Poetry Teaching Fellow at Boston University where she received the Hurley Prize in Poetry. Karina is the Editorial Project Coordinator for MIT Sloan Management Review and the co-editor of spoKe, a poetry annual. Her first book of poetry will be published by MadHat Press in 2021. Karina recommends Overcomers Refugee Services.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, May 20, 2021 - 09:25