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Tome On The Range

Three Poems By: Emma Wippermann
Karl Smith , July 26th, 2015 12:10

New writing on tQ this week takes us once more back to Brooklyn — this time via Berlin and biblical references — for three new poems by Emma Wippermann


The fact is she fell asleep on the train, and they took
everything they could carry. First her unlabeled brown bag,
her wallet with one credit card. Then they pinched her hat
from the top and plucked it gently off.
Her leather gloves were pulled from the fingertips,
sneakers fully unlaced. They unwound her scarf,
revealing a skin that would freckle in summer.
Her coat was taken, her pants undone
and shimmied carefully down both legs.
The shirt, conveniently a button-down, was pulled by a hand
at her back. Bra unclasped, underwear snipped, socks,
slightly sweaty, were slid off and rolled back together.

She slept on, the hairs on her bare forearms erect. The train

rose from the thick dark onto the bridge above
the night of the city and she ascended, her cool skin around
her; the place she at last could fill
with the unregulated productions of her desire.


I lived with Eve
on the corner of Cricket & Spring, on the first floor of a house rented out
by Father Tom and the Sisters next door. Our borders
were the church parking lot in the back,
rap blasting at the red light out our bedroom window,
the lilac bushes lisping by the drive. Our kitten slept
beneath them, would wake and wander back inside
smelling dreamy; and the leaky bay windows gazed South;
and we could walk to Trader Joe’s.

I remember once
we smoked grass packed in the top of a still-good autumn apple, sweet
smoke swirls stroking the old white wainscoting and then when
Eve ate it!

When we met, I didn’t sleep for a week but lay
longing, curled awake in my branches
until she came back with her bags
to share my narrow bed. Spring, summer, fall stealing
figs from the nuns’ tree, chewing hidden behind the fading lilac greens.

And then – our cat ran away
and we ran out of things
to discover for each other.

I had a dream that it was summer
in Brooklyn, post-apocalypse. I was
walking the bleak blocks to her
new place. Three souls left: me, Eve,
and the still cat across the street.
I opened the door and looked up through darkness
to a halo of light falling through from the roof
where Eve, chest now bound tight to the rib,
wearing that heather-pink shirt, alone,
Eve was gardening.



She hated the sand so we stayed
in New York, sweat our way to the fancy
deli, to her cousin’s place in Chelsea.
From the window July sparkled
and croaked. The TV spoke
patriotic, blabbed flags all day
and with twilight we climbed to the roof.
Millions of dollars exploded
from the Hudson, what a waste, what a
big footprint, crooked, kissing, winding
our drunk way out. I held her
back at the red light.
“Don’t patronize,” she said to me
and the speed of the taxis,
to the hour arching over
Hart Crane’s bridge.

2 . Berlin

The sun is six hours early here
or the moon’s up late in Brooklyn,
still skipping scalloped power lines,
spokes spinning in the heat
already I’m pedaling, and a different she
is straddling the rack on the back, hands low around me.
“That’s how you break a bike!” shouts some guy.
and the park is smoky, white bodies bared
in sun celebrations, cherry pits all over the ground.

I want to give her something but
pulling another flower, I break the stem of the first
and I can’t put either back.

Emma Wippermann is another writer in Brooklyn. She sells books at BookThugNation and prints poems at Ugly Duckling Presse