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Winter 2019/20

Bertha Rogers


It demands dirt, this white book. Its pages,
dew-damp, mud-whorled, transmit
arranged words on old skin. This book,
dropped or discarded in these woods.
Its soiled, soaked words like it here—

The book, laid on its back side,
                        thoughts inside—rank old idioms
                        interleaved with drifted, sifted dermal tissue.  

The words will at last fall home,
find substratum, where they will ring-
                        walk—obedient ants, grubs— 
all the livelong day. The tall trees
hear, but have already forgotten.

Bertha Rogers has published several poetry collections, including the recent Wild, Again (Salmon Poetry, 2019); as well as a translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf (Birch Brook, 2000); and Uncommon Creatures: The Anglo-Saxon Riddle-Poems from the Exeter Book, Translation and Illuminated (Six Swans Artist Editions, 2019).


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