Four Poems

Beth Levin

[January 2022.]

I. Insomnia

The clocks don’t lie
yet here am I —
up when the others are down.

What brought me here — when did I lose step with humanity?


II. Insomnia

Here in the quiet dark there is no one else —

Leaky pipes scat a Coltrane melody and I hear the candles mutter

Now the wind
from over the moon
bellows against a glass pane
and a bread truck plows the snowy street.


III. Green Room

A mirror of G.E. bulbs
hopped up I shimmy into
black velvet
make-up vials share the counter with crooked hair pins

faux emerald earrings

eyes lined in black search the creamy page — too late for translation
air ducts create
an artificial chill
the air on stage as torrid
as Tangier in August.



I walk with a stoop now,
my feet carried me
and now must be bandaged;
the sun converted my porcelain skin to a dark beetle

a bowl of rice my banquet
or its mere fragrance
a lark sings to me at night
and I speak to my dead mother.


[Image credit: Self-portrait by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, retrieved from,_Self-Portrait,_Shunga_album,_1839.jpg]

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