Prague and Tongue

Like Tongue, the word
Prague is spelled
for its swollen center

and placement,
which snakes before
it stalls.

This winter I hid inside
both for a while
while the leadfaced

neighbors worked fast
on their own
obsessions. Alone,

I learned to be in love
with neither town
nor appendage

whose shining, wasted
forms ache against
one another:

Prague from Tongue
in a moment of silent
lunacy, say,

and Tongue sitting wet
in a gray station,
dying to go.

Karina van Berkum is from quaint New Hampshire, but is currently teaching kindergartners in Bratislava, Slovakia. The move was a whim and she is thrilled to be writing her way through chilly Europe! In 2007, her poems were published in Wagner College’s literary magazine, The Nimbus, and in 2010 her poem “When You Say ‘Pass the Red Spraypaint'” was published in Autumn Sky Poetry.

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