Four Poems

Emily Bertholf
Odd Syllables
roll off your tongue,
leave seeds along my skin.
I call you. I call you in,
I call you in my native tongue,

come in.

Here I am talking to you
there you are looking at your phone
words hang unanswered between us
we empty our cups and go
I pick up empty
wine glasses scattered
around the house and kiss
a spider, squashed but still
moving, barely alive
The moon is waning
too long since we’ve seen
the sun – red roses bob
down a snow encrusted river
who’ll be there to save them?

My mouth

             desert-drY, cracked, once Lush
                        farmland now In drought
                                    my tonGue lies limp muted
                                                alone in its dark Hollow
                                                            grave words crushed under
                                                                        heavy booTs like dead autumn
                                                leaves, turned to dust –
                                    helpless words like infantile birds
                                    Consumed by prey before
                        leArniNg to take
my mouth Is an arena where stories are told, children
lauGh and elders gatHer To die and be born again.
a band-aid wrapped around Your wOunds,
damp with antiseptic to block the infections that threaten Us.
my mouth is a bRidge that cloSes
the distance between you and me.


If I pour long-winded cries on him
and inhale the rocks easily
mingled with whiskey sour
breath but uneasy, will
our thin containing
still unfurl these
Emily Bertholf’s words have appeared in publications such as Negative Suck, Lost in Thought, Litsnack, and vox poetica. She lives in Milwaukee, where she draws  inspiration from the waves of Lake Michigan and sometimes tangoes alone in her living room. Links to her work can be found at

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