by Margo Berdeshevsky

2022 Poetry of the Sacred Contest Winner

Dawn has no eagles no claws no butterflies, a soul-silence only monasteries and mountaintop
holies had, before. But that was before and this is day at the end of beginning. There was only

going to be a beginning, once. You have started at the end to watch without eyes. To love
without voice. To wait for your flesh to be written by your own unmade bed. A heartbeat born

out of fear, and soothed by silence. Nothing is gifted but walls and grace and white space.
How could it be grace, the blind eye insists and the wall holds its counsel. Your marriages

have not happened yet, not the first not the second not the third and the one in the dark —
that person someone has informed you has died. You will learn to be sad. The lover has

not said “this was not a marriage” yet, and the rapist has not said “you can go now” yet,
and the unrequited has always remained so. You are pure without knowing why. You are not

clean you are not dressed but you are not spoiled. You do not understand arithmetic or viral
sciences. You are a swan-necked girl with large hips and a starvation for God. A femme

in silk. You are flame before it is stone. You are walking toward you. Trembling with
wish. Doe with no forest to hide you. Your blood cells already know there are no promises

What if no one touches you ever. There is no birth day no double helix no mother no father no
messengers but your word is His name whispered in storm. Is a handprint on water. Is sprouted

from a vernal branch along with its single leaf. You must learn to open. If this is meant
to be a tree, what is a woman then. Gather her into your own sleep, your body, stone, ripening—

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Margo Berdeshevsky, born in New York City, often lives and writes in Paris. Her latest collection, Before The Drought, is from Glass Lyre Press, (a finalist for the National Poetry Series.) It Is Still Beautiful To Hear The Heart Beat is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. Kneel Said the Night (a hybrid book in half-notes) is forthcoming from Sundress Publications. Berdeshevsky is author as well of Between Soul & Stone, and But a Passage in Wilderness, (Sheep Meadow Press.) Her book of illustrated stories, Beautiful Soon Enough, received the first Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Award for Fiction Collective Two (University of Alabama Press.) Recipient of Grand Prize for Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award. Other honors include the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her works appear in Poetry International, New Letters, The Night Heron Barks, Kenyon Review, Plume, Scoundrel Time, The Collagist, Tupelo Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Southern Humanities Review, Harbor Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, Jacar—One, Mānoa, Pirene’s Fountain, Big Other, Dark Matter: Women Witnessing, among many others. In Europe and the UK her works have been seen in The Poetry Review, PN Review, The Wolf, Europe, Siècle 21, Confluences Poétiques, Recours au Poème, Levure Littéraire, Under the Radar. She may be found reading from her books in London, Paris, New York City, Los Angeles, Honolulu, at literary festivals, and/or somewhere new in the world. Her Letters from Paris have appeared for many years in Poetry International online. Here is one: For more information, see http://margoberdeshevsky.com.