Fall/Winter 2014

Judith Berke


Who are you?  What
are you?
asked you
to start giving wild parties
inside me, with your friends?
You think you are smart,
you think you are tough.
Well I am smarter than you, and tougher
and certainly bigger:
I am the macrocosm
to your microcosm
and you are nothing
but a Benedict Arnold,
a traitor to your own country,
which is my body
and you know what happens to traitors,
don't you?
Well, he was lucky,
they didn't shoot him
but anyway, get ready, get
ready to be bombarded
by rays
and by chemicals;
it will not be so pleasant
for you, you little shit.
And if you die,
look at it this way—
won’t you, in your tiny cellular
hell (or heaven) be proud
to have died
for your country,
your very own country,
the place you were born,
which is me?

Judith Berke’s poems have appeared in APR, Paris Review, Poetry and many others. Her book White Morning was published by Wesleyan University Press. She died after a brave fight against cancer in the summer of 2013.



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