“Mama’s Nightmare” by J.B. Bernstein

J.B. Bernstein


Last night
you tossed your girl-child high
above a cloud for someone else to catch.
I screamed but you didn’t listen. You strode
over, made a fist & busted
in my brain. I gasped, choked on
your fingers as they scraped & clawed
my dream to death. Sated, you sat
down on the ground, watched your sweet babe
stumble, tumble head-first onto into
through your criss-crossed legs.

This morning
I jerked upright.
I thought I saw your sun-
soaked face swimming in fantasy
& fairy tales, a smile trickling,
tricking me to reach, beseech you …
Come to me, my daughter.
Let your mama chase the cobwebs from your worn-
out soul & wash your future clean.

from Rattle #16, Winter 2001


J.B. Bernstein: “Poetry is the language of the indefinable, somewhere between the subconscious and the soul. To be able to enter this sphere is a privilege; to sometimes be able to do it well is a gift of beauty. I love writing because it takes me where I’ve never been before.”

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