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Slight of Hand

BY ALEX GREENBERG
 

Ethical Culture Fieldston School, '17
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors' List

 

This is a landscape to be sketched & left uncolored.

A boy stands at the crossroads of a ruined city, waving a bell without a whistle.

Consider the tumbleweed of his hair, the muscles in his neck

turned white gossamer, tenuous like black walnuts in summer.

Every rock is a headstone waiting to be named:

Here lies the body of a newborn who saw only light in his life.

A procession of townspeople tours the city as if for the first time,

peers into the cross-section of a house where a boy’s bed has unmade itself.

And the bats locked in his sister’s diary have escaped & lodged their way

into the empty light sockets of her closet. A mother spools

the husks of a broken crib into the dress her daughters will wear

as they drape the flag of the city back over the city gate

& sing the anthem of their bodies. This is all bound to happen again:

the singularity gave us the bedrock for the bomb. 

 

 

Alex Greenberg is a seventeen-year-old poet. His work has been published in The Florida Review, The Cortland Review, Third Coast, Salt Hill, DIALOGIST, Grist, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. He was a finalist for the Lascaux Review Poetry Prize and the Hippocrates Young Poets Prize, and the recipient of the 2014 Critical Pass Review Junior Poets Prize and the 2014 46er Prize for the Adirondack Review. Alex currently hosts a poetry program for patients with dementia at the Augustana long-term health facility in Brooklyn, teaches a summer poetry workshop for underserved children in the East Harlem area, and reads for The Boiler.