Nancy Berg

You're fine, really,

but the small burrowing creature inside you

is trying to live in a hot cubbyhole

six and a half feet beneath the foundation

of your co-op.

Everything's OK, you guess,

except this burrowing animal

keeps trying to claw its way inside

the wombs of your lovers

who are men

and, as such, without wombs

but the burrowing creatures refuse to understand this.

Your life, it hisses, has been breathing into the microphone

for longer than you can remember,

and the tableaux series of you in most embarrassing moments

is painted in primary colors

on a caravan of 18 wheelers,

coming to a neighborhood near you.

"Feed me three or four down comforters,"

says the burrower.

"Feed me nine electric blankets.

Let me hang my cubist paintings,

all in earth tones,

on the wall."

Even so, it will contract you

to a dense black dot

beneath the shadow of your navel.

It will fold you in a closet

intermittently pumped with oxygen

by convoluted theories on a conspiracy of mule deer

and the nature of the spirit to betray, consume, and spit.


Your impulse will be to surrender,

but your mission will be to resist.