the poetry that matters

Katie Berger

Katie Berger, originally from Nebraska, lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Her work has appeared in Catch Up, otoliths, The Broken Plate, among others. She works as a freelance copywriter and a graduate teaching assistant in the University of Alabama's MFA in creative writing program.

Missing Lake Michigan


We will need a broken heart or some lesson plans. How about

a Snoopy lunchbox? Thermodynamics could work if coupled

with birthday cards and a missing eraser. I’ve heard good

things about traffic cones and sodium chloride

but we can’t forget

garden rakes.


Scholarly articles are rife with efficacy

if we can find a freshman class and overflowing

trash cans to undermine them. Can you find

the drawing with the box with buttons? Look

on educational access television.


Our goal is clocks with hands.

Our downfall is lack of gravity.


The ETA is half a lifespan, destination

Lake Michigan. We can add

some traffic cones and concrete if needed.


Frontier County is sufficient.

The moon may be too much

but it is not out of our parameters

if you can find the diagram.


What we really need is the habitation

zone of the baboon.



More Memories


I’m not sure but I think you hid my memories lost the key then asked me to pick the lock of my own mind while a clock ticked somewhere on the wall behind me but if you sent me out to unearth these stories I would dig in styrofoam and return only with the rusted kickstand from a child’s ten speed and while my hands are surrounded birds take flight from within the mouth of a chimney and you flap your arms and I ask if I should be chasing the birds or the chimney and you say the answer is in the strange books on the shelf like the phone book a detective novel an encyclopedia of birds that was a gift from an old friend Dan or Michael who ran along the shore of Lake Michigan chasing the seagulls into the spring fog and I more remember the bottle caps stuck in the sand the same as the abandoned sailboat the one with the hole in its hull that rain dripped into like rain dripping on the windows that form patterns maybe even ideas that can be moved to the paper on the desk between us and makes our fingers twitch with the thought of you writing the story while I think of it finishing this freeing of my rib cage from itself while I sit in a dentist’s chair in the next room over and you talk through the keyhole about ether and an operation to remove but I do not like the thought of you touching my vital organs and your suggestion to poke holes in them to extract more memories you find with a magnifying glass




A time machine is forever a prototype


The symposium on time travel was semi-serious.

The [     ] with the time machine was not meant to be serious.

             (until I realized)

it was you transposed

on the field [alfalfa] where I first

fell from a haystack. And you again

             on the horizon

when I pressed my handprint

into a wet concrete highway. [275 bypass]

The academic term may be juxtaposed.

The academic term may be invented.


Time machines must have windows so as to confirm their efficacy.

Put that on the lab report       and I will

           report back

on my forgetting—what was or wasn’t

written on the bottom of the cereal box

          robot I made. Or was there

          a robot.


This could be forgotten or this could be a reason

to measure the windowframe for glass.


Would you like a tint?

The colors can be ordered.


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                                                                                                                       June 5, 2012