Issue > Poetry
Roberta Feins

Roberta Feins

Roberta Feins received her M.F.A. in poetry in 2007 from New England College. Her poems have been published in Floating Bridge Review, Five AM, Antioch Review, and other journals. Roberta won First Prize in the 2010 Women in Judaism Magazine poetry contest. Roberta edits the e-zine Switched On Gutenberg.

Self-Portrait As Romantic Literature

My first shoes were pink, cobbled
from French verbs. When I was hungry,
I pulled Mother out of my mouth    
in the imperfect. The sound of words

nourished me, the way Cottager's Wife
might reach out with a net
to scoop a trout from the waterfall's rush.  
I wore Jo's gray poplin backwards,

a sooty scorch-mark across
my preteen breast. My creators
adorned me with moral instruction.
("Rising from prayer, her load of sin and sorrow  

was gone, and her heart made light.") If only
I'd acknowledged life's texture
of paper and ink. I could have been—
adverbial, singing "Ly, Ly, Ly",

a fireplace thickly smoking in the pivotal scene
of Middlemarch. I was a poorly
diagrammed sentence. The last chapter
shoved me, pregnant, from a row-boat.  

I swallowed arsenic, died fever-hot.
What villain clipped the tossing feathers
on my funeral wagon's black horses,
reducing them to the dust of empty quills?

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