Two Debut Poems by Bennet Bergman
Electric Lit relies on contributions from our readers to help make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. Please support our work by becoming a member today, or making a one-time donation here.
Today it arrived in an unapologetic parcel.
I had decided to wait for it in bed
because it was taking so long,
it was February already.
Because I slept through the rain,
I didn’t know it had rained.
Meanwhile winter has gotten so big we need
special mirrors to see around it.
I don’t need to do things over and over again
before I know that I don’t need to do them anymore.
Didn’t need many nights to understand for example
the boredom of having sex with strange men.
There is a card game to teach you that,
how to deduce a pattern from any set.
But the weather does
subject us to repetition.
It arrives obliviously, as if we have
not already had some of that.
When I open it up —
what has come for me —
it is as anyone would have expected a cool bit
of iron ore, a sad anniversary.
I am going to loiter in the shower while it gets
dark out. Run my head through my hands.
Each time he rose from bed before me in the morning to rinse
his face with cold water I wondered what he had done it for:
whether it was vanity, whether
this was unattractive to me. He would come back to bed
with water in his beard, mouth tasting like toothpaste,
eyes not so stopped with sleep.
He once said to someone else at a party that when he was
younger he had wanted to be in porn movies,
but Tel Aviv was such a small city. This
killed me. He had such a way of bringing exteriors
into the room with us, even when we had
lived together for many months
he would play these little shadow scenes of betrayal
across my imagination and always they were
painterly and robust:
how in the checkout aisle with our groceries he, looking
out the window at a man on the street, says brightly
but not to me, “I know him,”
and I know what he means. A unique feature of our life
together was that all its walls could be rolled down
like windows or thought of as not to exist.
As if you were just sitting in the kitchen when
the siding of your house was made
suddenly to face in;
you might think, How strange, that I am not outside
but somehow the outside
has come here.
About the Author
Bennet Bergman lives in New York and will soon be an MFA student in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. These are his first published poems.
“The Weather” and “Barricades” are published here by permission of the author, Bennet Bergman. Copyright © Bennet Bergman 2018. All rights reserved.