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Sample Poems by Midge Goldberg


The Fish

“But what about the fish?” my daughter asks.
We’re reading, for a bedtime story, Noah,
Who’s busy with at least a million tasks
Preparing place for sheep, flamingo, boa,
But there’s no mention of the fish. I say,
“That’s true; of course, they wouldn’t care about
A flood—in fact, they’d have more room that way.”
But why did God decide to leave them out?
Were they unsullied more than beast or bird?
Forgotten? Was it too hard to make disaster
Really work for everyone? No word
On this. They got no promises or master,
Nothing they did not need, no watery bow.
Untouched by God, the fish stayed safe below.


Flume Ride

Your arms slide around my waist, and we are going,
and I am pressed full length back into you.
We click and rock heavenward only knowing
the outline of the way but not the view,
the feel of every curve, turning and twisting.
Our fingers intertwine, and gravity
falls before us, leaving us resisting
in a well of weightlessness, then we

are dropping, through loops and lesser hills
of rapids run to overspills,
locked and tumbling together, falling
like eagles plummeting, calling,
until the boat slows, and we are there—
your fingers comb the water from my hair.


Town Parade

I sit on the curb and watch them marching, feel
that raw spot open like a just-scraped knee.
The school band wears plain pants and shirts—where are
the uniforms we wore in junior high?
They pass: the crooked lines, the fat flag girls;
drum majors lead the band with empty hands.
Where is the gleaming scepter, coveted
like gold? The whistle, hat, those gloves that slashed
the air, acknowledged—yes, to be acknowledged.
Or sequined bathing suits of majorettes,
custom-made, with boots, tiara, beauty.
You’d give up music to be one of those girls.
They were the gods, the queens, our tailored hell.
They’re missing here today—it’s just as well.


On Air

“We had our wedding on the radio.
Yeah, we won this contest where you called in
to answer things about each other—jeez,
I could have killed Mike when he didn’t know
my high school boyfriend’s name. They all played hockey
together for Saint Mary’s—and he forgot!
The questions they asked me were really dumb—
who’d he want to be? How the heck should I know?
But it was right after the Super Bowl,
that year the Pats won (what a party—I
got wicked smashed). I figured he’d say Tom,
uh, what’s his name, their quarterback—the cute one.
So, yeah, we won, ’cause I got that one right.
And then the prize was, they paid for the whole
friggin’ wedding at Casa di Fior,—
that place up Route 1 by the mini-golf,
(it’s wicked expensive there; I checked it out)—
a honeymoon vacation in Aruba,
and then they put the whole thing on the air
(the wedding, not the honeymoon—oh my God!).
The vows and everything! I think my ma
was kind of sad we didn’t have a priest.
They brought their own JP (a Catholic one—
he took one look at ma and Aunt Therese
and did a quick Our Father over the cake—
they felt a little better after that).
Those DJ guys, and Lila in the Morning,
they were there. It was an awesome party.
Even Uncle Donny said so, and he
should know, he caters weddings all the time.
When I got back, people I didn’t know
at work would come right up to me and say,
‘Hey, I heard your wedding on the air.’
That was cool. Like I was famous maybe.
Like Madonna.”