Alina Gregorian
Bark Flies over Nebraska

It is 1927 and nothing is lowly in the universe. Pines fall from the sky. You open your mouth, you want to speak, but words are motions and your hat keeps falling off. You tilt your head to catch the falling pines. You expel all my expectations. You never use nouns. The feather on your lapel is not valid. Please depart this poem until I feel the need to demonstrate animosity I’ve never felt before. You are to me as bark is to neophyte aluminum. I have a thousand robots with knitted shawls. They see the glory of monstrous suitcases. They live in pits with ants on their heads. I respond kindly to the call of grackles. They don’t know how to say: “This is all the pain we need.”  

 

B. F. Förster Says

But I miss you, Paprika. We will meet as two ships crashing into each other at night. The fratze 

will never find out. They will not paint your door. I miss the aufnehmen in your words and the 

socks that surround your toes. Leave by a schliff train. Forget about the müssen of the moon, 

the shirts at geborgen. And all the hinweisen and the kurzarbeit by the stove. Do not follow the 

gelaufens—they will steer you toward detoured roads. If you hurry, trügen airplanes will wave a 

flag for your barg. The staff will make a pot of umfahren to sustain your bones. They are under 

the radar of the stars. The grün jacket you wear will ward off all the stones. And forgive me if 

I've mentioned this before: you are the klinker in my wald. 

 

 

The Bridge

According to the records all the tiles are yellow, 

spotted with turpentine stains in a semi-patriotic fashion. 

I, standing as far away from the bridge as anyone 

can be, adore the sun as it throws its rays on the spots  

where the tiles lie. They are beautifully fashioned. 

 

Has anyone thanked you. Has anyone shaken 

your hand gracefully and forced you to grin 

in a serene but accusing way. You know better 

than the stars why those tiles have never exploded 

under the weight of unchaperoned school groups. 

 

The tiles swap places for more endearing views  

of the moon. While they worry about aesthetics, 

the windows in this city drive them mad. They 

speak about windmills, there are no windmills. 

They eat moths and like how they taste.  

 

You swore you'd never tell a cigar your secrets 

but you lit one after you assembled the tiles. 

You said no but were crying to say yes. Have 

you seen the boats, have you forgotten how 

to mow your hair. Who saw you with the tiles.