Margo Berdeshevsky

But a Passage in Wilderness


But a woman prepares to cross the perfumed

river, little crying.

She has left candles placed like birds with folded wings.

When they are lit, she will watch their heartbeats burn.


night-sphinx of rivers, am I eye to eye with your light,

or closer to your claw, tell me this.

Sings the thousand prayers like ponies vying with winners, how

they know the course, but cannot stretch their white-downed spines

to gallop, can’t span the fathoms with kicked light.

Broken-eyed roses, colts, don’t fall!

Dark matter of the daily heart, do something beautiful. Do this.

Between soul and stone, there is grass, its mere and pushing green.

Once, there was a wind heavy as a wilderness, made in its soul to

be without ground, and with song. Incantation, magic, serenity,

each, so near.


Do not abandon me. (Louise Bourgeois, at 90.)




Here is an autumnal phrasing :Though all


the crimson windows of the season are symphonic,


only the viol’s carousel can speak.



Now they veer toward bone, toward tin. These leaves. These


small red hands. But now they burn. Now they grow fine claws,


and spread them. Now they say Our Father, in every language


including silence. How they ask for one true sentence, and a


woman says it: “For sale: love, hardly used.” She is no


Renaissance mystic. Never meant to be.



“But a Passage in Wilderness” is from But a Passage in Wilderness (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2007).