Havenwyck Hospital, 2002
BY BENJAMIN GOLDBERG
Where day is a room named after itself,
men scrubbed the color of sunrise
revolve like planets around our wounds.
As we wake we can feel them
thumbing our scars like rosary beads,
whispering prayers to keep themselves
from falling into our skin.
In the quiet room, silence enters
the thigh via needle and prayer
is listening to what the body says
after it’s tranked out of its native language.
The records will say I was once
a nest of maladies under the tongue
of a man whose mouth was his name
who siphoned five minutes
from each sunrise, that I was a chart
of scrips and milligrams in an alchemy
meant to yield a version of me
that could fly from that nest.
Tonight, I’ll sleep in a linen closet
in the arms of a girl who, for a few hours,
cures my crazy with hers. Tomorrow,
memory will be a palm full of clouds
tipped from an orange bottle.
I’ll swish it down my throat with a dixie
cup of water. I’ll lift my tongue
to reveal I didn't forget, then forget.
Benjamin Goldberg lives with his wife outside Washington, D.C. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ninth Letter, The Greensboro Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Salt Hill, The Southeast Review, Devil’s Lake, and elsewhere. He was a finalist for the 2012 Gearhart Poetry Prize, the 2013 New Millennium Writings Award for Poetry, and the 2013 Third Coast Poetry Prize. He is currently earning his MFA at Johns Hopkins University. Find him online at www.benrgold.com.
More by Benjamin Goldberg:
"Unguided Tour of the French Riviera," Poetry, Issue Eleven.