Bryce Berkowitz

Just Once

I’d like to be the falling rain,
a foggy window, soft eyes,
a museum of desire, a damp yard.
My mother’s hands are sweetgum leaves.
She looks for mercy in the mirror,
then disappears into the maw of night.
Why debate the subtleties?
The other day, I mistook blackbirds for roses.
The snow-dusted fields in Ohio stretched for miles,
while violet clouds drifted from Indiana into Illinois.
A silent ride home. Wreckage spreading
through rooms in a stranger’s house.
We used to share problems, tip back bottles to see the stars.
Now smoke billows from the cloud factory.
Beneath a wet sky, the wind tore leaves from an oak.
And my father shuffled down the driveway,
tightened his eyes, and said, You know
she wasn’t always that way. That’s the sad part.

Bryce Berkowitz is an MFA candidate at West Virginia University. He is Editor-in-Chief at Cheat River Review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2017, Hobart, Barrow Street, Third Coast, Passages North, The Pinch, Permafrost, Eleven Eleven, Tampa Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, The Laurel Review, and The Fourth River, among other publications.