What becomes our bones beneath the
tabebuia trees - roots cock-soft & moorless
if morals weren’t just God throwing bricks;
grove of soi-disant trumpets and blooms
a heavyweight tossing hair: at heart
pink with a yellow throat. The threatening
shadow of our bones is
the hard freeze, a slow kill,
a motherfucker.

Only backyard decay
for us, dear; black summertime
seeds & useless,
wet sympathy; rusted swing sets or
earthworms crisped in morning sun.
we embrace change we drag from guts and godless
rosary; untethered, the grease-oil past but bokeh
blinking out darkly the farther we float.

We parley with grasshoppers:
mouthy nitrous addicts exalt
Passover with a buck knife.
pity you, tabebuia,
crack lightbulbs with bullwhips,
sweet talk the weak cures for cancer.
The grasshoppers will read us
rare & remarkable poetry in a monotone.

The Arctic Now

Speaking alone
graves the mind.

Refuge of the small & strange.
as lifeboat
curled into cul-de-sac of middle age.

Surviving wrecks, dramatically, tragically
reaching out of flames, dying too young

or vengefully blooming,
finally, into Eve,
all Eve.

Red-faced into the voiceless
ice of windshield: I spew
the cruelty of our love, the confusion,

the obligation of sweeping
night glass & idle spines
back into the gutter eaves before
the sun begins
its own cold certainty,

same as the light
shroud fogging
over the dawn,
same as it was,
we will crash, it will rise.


A New Jersey native at heart, DEBORAH BERMAN-MONTAÑO has featured her work in the Phoenix poetry and art scene since the late 1990s, around the time she graduated with a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. She has curated, hosted & produced poetry events in the Phoenix/Tempe area since 2012, focusing on artists from under-represented backgrounds, as well as those driven to save humanity through the creation of great art. She has been published most recently in ELKE “A Little Journal”, Spilled Milk Magazine and Linden Avenue Literary Journal.