Alan Bern


It is no allergy. Not even layer.
There is wolf in this human head. Its sharp teeth grow sharper in the inside chomping. Damp.
Looking out the dimmed window: full moon half out of thin fog.
Now howling. For soft prey?
Predictably much is forgotten though no dream here— this is the real stuff. Now owl in the eye of the eagle— eagle after owl and after wolf. That wolf in the head. Wolf after owl. Now the victims recede. No victories.
But battles.
Mouth verbs and consonants cannot get along any longer.
Left are the yowls and the gutturals. Taking loud stock.
The peace is full blood. After chaos the wolf disappears from the head leaving only dry teeth in a small mound— and the sounds and winds of bird wings, echoless.

Preacher spoke cube mode
Congregants stood tall
Asteroid never came
Summerstone waited
Hound slept on his feet

Swimming the backstroke 
His Mom never tried 
But her breaststroke kept 
Her up afloating 
That’s how he recalled

The in-gathering 
Was curriculum
Never spoken loud
In the family
Summerstone passed on

His great last panic 
To progenitors
Always talking back
Summerstone managed
To put cart before

Horse and picking up 
All what he left off
He drove his sad self
Into the lake Mom
Once swam and finally

The asteroid dropped


Alan Bern, retired children’s librarian, is a prize-winning poet, storywriter, and photographer with three poetry books: No no the saddest and Waterwalking in Berkeley from Fithian Press; greater distanceLines & Faces, his own fine press/publisher specializing in illustrated poetry broadsides, collaborating with artist/printer Robert Woods,

Recently published photos at: UnearthedThimble Literary Magazine, and The Raven’s Perch

Alan performs with the dancer Lucinda Weaver as PACES and with musicians from Composing Together,