5 Poems by Maria Berardi


(Long Cove, ME.)

Flat water, no demarcation

always undulating, o undines

sky? sea? A thin scrim

measureless depths, mermaids more limited

to paint on, not vapor; canvas.

than thought, nacreous slippers

This \/ represents flight.

flipped from the feet of strange princesses

This oblong is land.

here is richness, treasure past counting

This dot: . is: You Are Here.

life goes about her own program

Hang this on your bedroom wall.

the surf's violence to our soft flesh

Ponder it.

is freshness to the winkles, the whelks,

the rockweed and bladder-wrack.

The Coldest Part of the Coldest Time of the Year

January dawn darkness.

Ponderosa pines blessed with precipitation,

the fine edge between frost and snow, and

lodgepole pine's every needle

articulated by delicate white.

Aspen branches silvered

by intricate ice

suspend a waning moon

in their clutches.

Independent of it,

Venus, a planet;

to us, a star.

I hate that I love this,

that I feel an affinity to beauty,

deadly at this time of year.

Detachment is not in my nature

but it seems to be my path,

the only way out is through

and the only way through

is step after step,

plucking off

each snowflake,

ice-bit, like lint,

like errant feathers,

adoring this world I repudiate.

Denying the despair

that is legitimate but useless.

Holding and letting go,

embracing the loveliness continually

as I continually remove it from its hold on me.


You are a lattice, a template.

We send up spindly strings of green

from that six inches of topsoil

that yields all our earth's life,

we shoot ourselves up towards you

and cling fast.

We project, we pray.

We infiltrate. The vine of us

thickens and deepens, splays out

in all directions simultaneously,

we are logorithmic,

we are exponential.

We lace out like cathedral windows,

like butterfly wings.

We grow all over you and, strong

and replete with sunlight, begin to bud.

Oh! The blossoms we burst out!

Oh purple and deepest blue!

Oh delicacy of fragrance!

Oh what fruit will come from this!

You are not there.

But now we are.

Bridge of green and flower,

sturdy as a city.

You are a problem of language

and this is where language stops.

Just words.

This, this: life.

The Faces Carved on the Harbor Pilings

Belfast, ME.

Bemused or mournful, the waning tide reveals them.

They regard the busted harbor and the gulls perched on them.

Thier wood is soft as fur from years of salt and turbulence,

their hood-folds and face lines are encrusted by barnacles.

Medieval, these monk-faces dream their double lives,

the air that slowly covers them in the waning tide,

their other wet element that inches up in the waxing tide,

that slowly and quickly nudges their bearing, fingers their grain.

At high tide they disappear to the Ocean Museum,

at home among sea stars, irish moss, and urchins.


Huge roots reach for water through boulders.

Wind suffuses but does not move.

Such graceful strength,

tensile, and taking

nothing from the living.

Luxuriant there in dirt and sun.

Abundant. Silent.

Resin essence anoints the restless air.

Maria Berardi’s work has appeared in local and national magazines and online (13 Magazine, Voca Femina, Mothering, The Opiate, getborn and most recently Twyckenham Notes and forthcoming in Luna Luna). Her first collection, Cassandra Gifts, was published in 2013 by Turkey Buzzard Press, and she is currently at work on her second, entitled Pagan. She lives in the Front Range foothills west of Denver at precisely 8,888 feet above sea level.

Her process is one of listening for transmissions from the cosmic radio and trying to catch them on paper before they dissipate: the glimpse, the complicated knowledge.