Selected by Mish Murphy, Assistant Poetry Editor

Martina Reisz Newberry: Three Poems


Sadie tells me she has had sex
with the ocean. She says
that it began with a wave
which came up behind her
and a door in that wave
swung open.

At first, she says,
she was afraid, but went anyway,
deep into the doorway
into a room of blue-green wet
and salt and whispers
from a bed of sand.

She was stroked
and lightly sanded and the water
enveloped and entered her
with a tenderness reserved
for its frailest creatures.
She was, after that, she tells me,

a “nympho on the half shell,”
shameless in the face of foam and tides.
Sex with the ocean, said Sadie,
is similar to sex with angels
(which I have had
on numerous occasions),
although to be perfectly honest,
angels are heavier than the ocean—
more cumbersome,
more insistent,
more intrusive; not as slick,
not as salty.

In the past, I’ve found
Sadie’s stories difficult to hear.
She tortures her days with Truth—
the straight stuff—
and I prefer my reality peppered
with, at least, a few fictional embellishments.

That being said,
my late-night dreams
explode with this particular
tale’s implications. What to say
except, “Good night, Sadie.
Good night.”



I read a story in a book about
trees and leaves and moss and such which told of
small lives below earth’s surface. Just around
root and ring were these lives, each holding on
to the magic of quiet and concealment.
And the story said, if you sat under
the trees, cleared a small circle of leaves and
sat inside it, your back braced against a
tree trunk, you would feel the small lives pulsating;
feel the blinks of tiny, seeing eyes boring
through their ceiling which, as I have told you,
is the earth’s crust. And, if you are lucky
enough to have with you a child or a
lover, and, if you pull the silence up
under your chin like a quilt, you can sleep
and dream the dreams of kings and queens
and claim the gifts of gods.



This city loves the dark; it absorbs the moon.
We’ll pretend it is made of sponge cake and absorbs the moon.

We’ll pretend the sky is a bowl of cheesecloth
filled with milk and bread which then absorbs the moon.

We’ll hold tight to the sound of trains going somewhere
without us and watch the night absorb the moon.

There are nights that last longer than we have on this earth;
3 a.m. refuses to move on until the night has absorbed the moon.

3 a.m is a devil. It whispers “you don’t want to die”
No, I don’t. I want to be here to help the night absorb the moon.



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