Bertha Rogers


Could not describe
the flow of hands
on her skin,
his cave kisses, talking lips.

Couldn’t excite
neighbors with talk—
yellow leaves finding ground,
March’s themed snow,
slammed doors.

The house spoke for her,
spun its silence like
drifted mote through
cracked windows.

And when it was finished,
she could never,
not ever beg sympathy
from the walls,
who had turned
their faces to empty floors.


Last leaves scuffle for place
among blood-beating pigeons,
ripped edges ruffle downward,
doves beating up.

Blood-beaten pigeons
pinioned against gravity—
doves beat up,
pinions push down, pulse.

Pinned by gravity,
rustling wind-ripped leaves,
pinions pulsing down, pushing.
They fall to brash gravity.

Ruffling, wind-ripped leaves,
leaving tired trees,
fall from brash branches
through the going season.

Leaves leave tired trees,
they flop into breezes
in this gone season.
Some leaves hold.

They flap in the breeze.
Last time I felt this way
some leaves held—
the day he died.

Last time I felt
he was young,
the day he died.
Gravity brought him down.

But he was young-gone—
he, a stemmed leaf,
gravity bringing him down
where he stayed,

dry-stemmed leaf,
last leaf scuffling in place.
There he stayed,
last leaf rustled downward.

First published in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review.

Bertha Rogers
is a poet, translator, and visual artist who lives on a mountain in the western Catskills of New York. Her poems have been published in literary magazines and anthologies and in several collections, among them Wild, Again (Salmon Poetry, 2019), Heart Turned Back (Salmon Poetry, 2010), and Sleeper, You Wake (Mellen, 1991). Her translation and illuminations of the 95 riddle-poems in the Anglo-Saxon Exeter book were published as Uncommon Creatures (Six Swans Artist Editions, 2019).