Three poems by Simeon Berry


Decide to visit the historic sanitarium with Z., despite fighting with N. about it. She had no good explanation for why her crush on him has suddenly turned to hatred.  As Z. is trying to raise my spirits, a toddler wanders up beside us and points: What’s that?  Her mother wearily replies: That’s a chair. She pivots: And that? A sigh: That’s a table. The child frowns: Why?   Z. smiles. Miss, let me refer you to the collected works of Wittgenstein.




I seem to be terrible at certain religious differences, which irritates N. to no end. Apparently, the Protestants are the ones who say all that shit after the Our Father in the Lord’s Prayer. It sounds very informal, like sports, until the day I agree to go to Mass with her. We’re sitting at the end of the third pew when the priest starts to condemn gay marriage during his sermon. N. stands up and—without changing expression or looking back—walks out. I am immensely proud of her, and we have a long, impassioned discussion about it. The next week, she goes back.




The night Virginia Woolf finally slept over, her lover, Vita Sackville-West, noted the event in her diary by simply writing three exclamation points. I myself would want four, which demonstrates that the first thing one wants to do with a great metaphor is to wreck it.




Simeon Berry lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. He has been an Associate Editor for Ploughshares, and won a Massachusetts Cultural Council Individual Artist Grant and a Career Chapter Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters. His work has appeared in Crazyhorse, AGNI, Colorado Review, Blackbird, DIAGRAM, The Iowa Review, American Letters & Commentary, and many other journals. His first book, Ampersand Revisited, won the 2013 National Poetry Series (Fence Books), and his second book, Monograph, won the 2014 National Poetry Series (University of Georgia Press).


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