By Arielle Bernstein


In my poems, I like to imagine that I’m a gardener
getting ready for harvest:
with great care I plant the new bulbs
tend the lilies, pull the weeds

In real life, I leave the flowers on the counter
freshly cut, already dying.

You ask if they shouldn’t be put in water
and I tell you it’s already too late:
that winter has already come
full of small deceptions
full of things I can’t heal

You remember that morning I came home from class
with a shoebox under my arm, a baby bird inside.
It had broken its wing and we drove all day
Trying to find the local shelter

We were proud of ourselves when we dropped it off
Didn’t find out until weeks later that they usually kill
The smaller ones who are less likely to survive

I remember that despite its size the bird was actually quite heavy
I had to be careful not to drop it, had to carefully place it in the box
Close the lid tight so it wouldn’t try to fly from me

This is how I spent my whole life learning to love:
with one hand carefully mending, the other already waving,
already lost, already far away

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ARIELLE BERNSTEIN is a writer living in Washington, DC. She teaches writing at American University and also freelances. Her work has been published in The Millions, The Rumpus, St. Petersburg Review, South Loop Review, The Ilanot Review and Press Play (Indie Wire). She has been listed three times as a finalist in Glimmer Train short story contests . She is currently writing her first book. She is Associate Book Reviews Editor at The Nervous Breakdown.

One response to “Harvest”

  1. This is so beautiful and heartfelt. Thanks for sharing!

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