From the Winter of…

Margo Berdeshevsky

One of these is true.All the animals were making love. It was the day for it. All the otheranimals but a wolf hid, listening to the slide trombone of his ownbreath. Who lay in a dim room, quiet but for the simmerof breaths of the lovers outside. It was their day. There was no lock on theroom. Only a belief that he was meant to lie in the silence. Breathe in thedim. Not meant to question. No howling. Noquestions. He slept, warmed by the high fever of his belief.Once upon a time there were bodies strewn and none to gather them. Itwas a massacre. That's why we remember the day. Death had shot andshot and gotten away with it. That's what survivorssaid. Warmed by the high fever of their beliefIt was one single arrow of passion, and Eros was good with it. A winner.Whom it struck—loved and was loved in return. Until it hurt the heart.No questions were allowed. The poison of love was aperfect killer. Everyone wanted to taste the poison. Warmed by the highfever of their belief.Once upon a time there was a peaceful body born who loved everyoneand everything on earth and in the air. No one had taught her. She wouldlie down in silence on a road or a field to stop bullets orsouls. She believed in the power of her thought. If warriors came withflags and swords and bombs and God on their side—stop! said her nakedwoman body, paused in the path of their attacks. She's onfire, observers saw. And loving her, stop! said the covens of owls, stop,said a murder of crows, stop, said eyes from branches to the east,branches to the west. Stop, said the hawk who loved wars. Stopmurmured the dove who knew the hawk very well. And her naked bodywhispered, God does not love warriors. A whisper that pierced theirhearts that wanted to be loved by their own God. There,whispered the woman, looking to a sky she believed she saw . . . do youknow what to do now, God? Warmed by the high fever of her belief.One of these is true. Or almost. A gift from the winter.

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

Margo Berdeshevsky was born in New York city, often lives and writes now in Paris. Her latest poetry collection, Before The Drought, is from Glass Lyre Press, (2017.) (In an early version, it was finalist for the National Poetry Series.) Berdeshevsky is author as well of Between Soul & Stone, and But a Passage in Wilderness, (Sheep Meadow Press). Her book of illustrated stories, Beautiful Soon Enough, received the first Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Award for Fiction Collective Two (University of Alabama Press.) Other honors include the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America.

Her works appear in Poetry International, New Letters, Kenyon Review, Plume, The Collagist, Tupelo Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Southern Humanities Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, Jacar—One, Mānoa, Pirene’s Fountain, Big Other, among many others.

In Europe and the UK her works have been seen in The Poetry Review, PN Review, The Wolf, Europe, Siècle 21, Confluences Poétiques, Recours au Poème, Levure Littéraire.

A hybrid book, Square Black Key and a new poetry collection, It Is Still Beautiful To Hear The Heart Beat wait at the gate.

She may be found reading from her books in London, Paris, New York City, Los Angeles, Honolulu, at literary festivals, and/or somewhere new in the world. Her “Letters from Paris” may be found in Poetry International, here.

For more information, kindly see here: 

Summer 2019

Lincoln, Nebraska

University of Nebraska

Kwame Dawes

Managing Editor 
Ashley Strosnider

Our mission remains what it has been for more than five decades. In the words of founding editor Carolyn Kizer, “We shall continue to encourage the young and the inexperienced, the neglected mature, and the rough major talents and the fragile minor ones.” We remain as committed as we were in 1959 to publishing the best poetry we can find, and to expanding the role and scope of poetry in ways both public and private, innovative and traditional, as an art and as a clear and necessary dialogue in a world overrun with noise.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.