The speaker tells us
Olive trees look like
they never wanted to
be trees at all.
They stand apart
from each other––
graygreen and sure of
only the dirt in which they grow––
even their fruit must be
basted in poison to be edible.
As seedlings, they never
asked for anything
except to be beautiful
and that has been
withheld from them.
Squat, small––tiny white flowers
(more like insects than blooms)
lay loose on their branches. They live long,
sometimes a thousand years,
and get no prettier with age.
The man next to me snorts,
mutters sottovoce to his companion,
(who snorts a little louder)
“Must be female trees.”
Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE (due out in late 2017 from Deerbrook Editions). She is also the author of WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions). LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press). She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.
A conveyor belt delivers mutton and fowl.
Hot meringues suffer and collapse
under my ruthless fork.
His breath tripped over words stuck between his teeth
and tongue as sinewy shoulders curved.
The child stood, small, shivering in her tattered brown coat,
a dented, scuffed brown suitcase gripped in her hand.
mushrooms, beets, carrots, cabbage,
uncle’s ashen face.
Light drips on the handle of our cups.
Mine is dark blue, hand
Crafted by a lady I met
Once, in Kentucky. It’s filled
With Camomile tea. No sugar.
You sometimes wonder about
Pangea, the supercontinent
that existed 300 million years
I miss driving with you at
night, sometime past safe,
our lips still wet with
When he had finished writing, and crossing out
and standing and rewriting, and looking
out his window, and feeling the sun
I stood and watched you sleeping, had
stood there watching for nearly five minutes in
the shadow of the
hallway for nearly five minutes of circus
time before I dropped your purse on the chair, quiet as death
If I could, I’d use
my recently purchased cell phone
to call the pay phone outside
the community swimming pool
in Fairview Park, Normal, Illinois,
that summer when I was eleven,
and the country 200.
It was the night we were told we couldn’t pretend we were Catholic.
The priest turned only toward you and said, “It’s between you and God.”
And you cried.