Poetry: Excerpts from Margo Berdeshevsky’s Before the Drought

Poetry: Margo Berdeshevsky

Before the Drought is a lyric meditation on corporeal existence, suffused with atavistic spirit and set in historical as well as cosmic time, a work of radical suffering and human indifference but also sensual transport. The tutelary spirits of these poems are the feminine principle, and a flock of messengers that include blue heron, ibis, phoenix, egret, and blood’s hummingbird. In the surround we find ourselves in the magical world of a floating balcony, and a field of cellos, but it is a world in peril, now and in the time to come, on the night of the Paris massacres and in a poisoned future. In the City of Light, Berdeshevsky writes poems commensurate with her vision, poems that know to ask How close is death, how near is God? Hers is a book to read at the precipice on which we stand.

—Carolyn Forché

From “Whose Sky, Between”

This day, how many white cranes remember all the bombs we’ve made to make the ‘other’
dead. Said: so we may never die. Said: hang a thousand small wings from our branches.

May one crane fly, one jasmine open, one thrush sing — all fragile night. One bloom of
a peace that cannot die.

. . . Because we will remember: blooms of jellyfish, men-o-war, and men of war,
long ravenous ancient fossils said to over take all seas of life. They never die. They clone.

From “No Modifier at All”

None. No one is not connected to someone else in the city who was hurt that night or dead. It is
the no-degrees of separation or escape. Or times we’ve been borne to. Everyone knows someone

who knew at least one in a city of millions. Open terraces under streetlamps and a fingernail of
moon. Tables of friends. A concert by The Eagles of Death Metal and autumn and blood and no

breath and the young….

Excerpts from Before the Drought

Available from Glass Lyre Press September 15 2017

Born in New York City, Margo Berdeshevsky has traveled the world. She currently is writing in Paris, where she is considering conversations with Madame de Sevigne’s ghost who lurks, maybe, in the courtyard. Her newest poetry book is Before the Drought, forthcoming September 2017 from Glass Lyre Press. Her earlier collection is Between Soul & Stone, published by Sheep Meadow Press. Her book of illustrated stories, Beautiful Soon Enough (University of Alabama Press) received the American Book Review/Ronald Sukenick Award for Innovative Fiction. Her poetry collection, But a Passage in Wilderness, was also published by Sheep Meadow Press in 2007.

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