Issue No. 9, Summer 2014

Her Swedish Fairy Tales: the Girl Who Fasted Too Long
Carol Berg

There is nothing now I can put into my mouth and savor:
cloudberry lingon allspice dread.

Not the mewlings of small juicy birds
or the tender sodden spring grass.

This my salt water tale. This my liquid dress.

I open my mouth to suck in the crackily ashes
to suck in the blueberry smoke.

No tongue, no noli me tangere, no tastebud, no desire.
No, desire is all I have: desire for the crunch, for the chew, and for the bite down.

Brutal scents: geraniums: unholy vessals of a too redolent green.
Bitter mint too crisp and the white cranberry juice so much

Christmas down my throat. I fear the animals fear their fatty coats
and candy-striped hoof. I place my dog’s stick in my mouth and taste fire.


Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in The Journal, Spillway, Heron Tree, Redactions, Pebble Lake Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and Verse Wisconsin. She has received a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her most recent chapbook, Her Vena Amoris, is available from Red Bird Chapbooks.