In Air


I remember how easy it is

to be swiped from the world

like an ant from a page.

Traversing the third line–

flowers are blooming everywhere–

and then falling,

like the wings of a bird in glide,

I remember

how inappropriate it can be.

But I never quite knew

what went through the ant’s mind

as it was catapulting into the

frantic whiskers of grass

and I don’t quite know what

will go through mine

when I’m resting in a chair

one day

and my book flips facedown

a page before the end.


When You Gave Me All Your Books

for Julia


Steadying my weight over the cold, olive shelf,

I cleared the toy rabbits. The books and small stack

of quarters from off your picture.


I was careful not to feel your face with my

middle finger, not to punch in your dimples

like the plastic of a water bottle.


There were three of us behind the ripe orange

of the frame and my head slumbered its way

to your shoulder. All skin & cloth, cheek & bone.


Your hair, which had tumbled its soft auburn

onto my arm during the time of the picture,

now cropped out my left half.


But I understood: it was hard for you

to talk about things like cheese and show off

all thirty-two of your teeth at the same time.


I noticed our nice clothes,

how our smiles displayed the same, contrived happiness

as those people who spend hours awake at night,


ruminating on some rapture

so that by the time their eyes do close,

their mouths are already anchored in a heavy & dumb smile.


All the while, I was listening at my desk

for the brilliant sounds you’d make

and then forget early the next morning.

Alex Greenberg

Alex Greenberg is a 14 year old aspiring poet. His work can be found in the November issue of the Louisville Review, in issue 17 of the Literary Bohemian, in the upcoming issue of Cuckoo Quarterly, in the upcoming issue of Spinning Jenny, and as runners-up in challenges 1 and 2 of the Cape Farewell Poetry Competition. He has won a gold key in the Scholastic Arts and Writings Awards and was named a Foyle Young Poet of 2012.

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