Featured Poet: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram – The Feminist Wire

Featured Poet: Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

The Body Deformed by Tidal Forces

Darkness still here, hunkered against the trees. /
Spring so uneasy this year. /
No matter morning’s boundary culling our bodies, /
another romantic passage assaults us! /
O limp future centered on this body! /
In the model solar system, planets suspend & twirl /
as if from a spider’s whirl. /
The quantum in backpedal, in decline, spring so un- /
gripping this year. Bored mouth. Bored fingers. /
The umpteenth day/night running like such— /
truly, truly—this troubling with physics!
Not still winter, not yet anything.

O thuggish awakening.
All planets but this one were named after gods.



Account of the Apparitions

—the end of billion dollar days came. It was like

———-old times



———-those old times everyone knew had occurred

but no one alive had lived them—


———-my old man, he held a lamp by his head &

peered into the darker corners of our house where

dust mixed


——————-its potions of small & infinite clouds.

We would know to call it the Summer of Sorrow.


———-The Fall of Painted Statues with Paint

Worn Off,


—————————-when every girl

& friend


——————-needed an abortion. Even me.

We all had one. Two. Hundreds.


It was all so hip.———All so cruel. It was


———-a hip kind of cruel. It was a club.


——————-We took blankets sewn

with thinning economic plans and called them


shawls. When we wore them,


we looked like movie stills, stretching to fit

———-the screen. We looked like faded slide film,

tattooed symbols behind our ears:

————————————————-the $

and Eye of Horus


*”The Body Deformed By Tidal Forces” previously appeared in Indiana Review, and “Account of the Apparitions” in Mid-American Review.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram‘s first book of poems, But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise, winner of the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, will be published by Red Hen Press in 2012. A Cave Canem fellow, her poems have appeared in Callaloo, Cream City Review, jubilat, Indiana Review, Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Narrative Magazine, Subtropics, and others. She is pursuing her PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Utah.