The Difference In Mass by Jean Berrett

As a myth worthy of belief, the dusk

will do.


A last glittering in the marsh

where the wind has finally died

and night stretches out like a long body breathing

over the grassy water.


In Milwaukee this afternoon, an old woman

who had packed her only life in two plastic sacks

screamed, tears in her eyes,

when a strong gust swept her to the curb.


As she raced to gather belongings

I could not hear what she cried out

but I knew she cursed


that even this wind

would shove her sideways

into a small, knotted death.


I remember splitting logs in the mountains,

how the swing of the axe fell gradually true,

homing into the wood’s heart, speechless.


I remember stirring dead ashes after the campfire

went out, wishing I could speak some god’s name,

wanting to say to someone, anyone,

“Come home, it is night, we have nothing to fear.”

Author Bio

Jean Berrett received her MFA in Poetry from Eastern Washington University. Her poems have been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Poets, Wisconsin Review, Puddingstone, and Plain Brown Wrapper, among others. She lives and writes in Wisconsin.