Two Poems
by Carol Berg

Her First Mid-Life Crisis

It’s a good excuse to walk
in the opposite direction.
South is the new North
or the map has forced
creases. Onto the pill
stage. The petals curling
on the kitchen counter, the spider
plants needing water—everything
becomes a symbol. Symbol me this:
Her nightly ibuprofen in the form of
listening to pine trees creak
at four in the morning. His beard
stubble in the bathroom. Her resolutions
stuffed down the throats of green trash bags.

Hairy Woman Sheds Her Pelt

Her many and long fingers covered
With small sharp spines.
She has mouths at each tip
Little tongues that dart out with chipped
Teeth. She eats only the softest of meat.
Before the shedding, her pelt is colored brittle.
Underneath, eggs in long strings,
Shaped like saucers. When they hatch
She feels them move within her hair
Feels them nibble and nibble near her scalp.
At the plumed stage, she is ready.
The pelt a bright red. Warning, it says.
She is ready, it says.
Now the sound of explosives.
Now the wind carrying her nettles.


Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in Pebble Lake Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, qarrtsiluni, Rio Grande Review, Spillway, and elsewhere. Two chapbooks, Ophelia Unraveling (dancing girl press), and Small Portrait and the Woman Holding A Flood In Her Mouth (Binge Press), are forthcoming in 2012. She blogs here.