by Rebecca Faulkner
Three sheets to a brittle wind, I am unhinged in East Berlin
burnt chalk taste of trams & your mouth doesn’t stop until
Sascha shows us the Jewish cemetery where the roundups started.
Thousands dead & broken glass from nights German kids drank
to forget their history. This is how the end begins you say as I stumble
through the tour, peel off to buy cigarettes & green nail polish
from the thrift store near Café Oren where waiters circle the periphery
arranging ghosts inside napkins. You claim center stage, take us hostage
with your history lesson. As I brace for impact on the bathroom floor
my past descends like Luftwaffe. I wish I’d never asked you to unbuckle
your belt, peel off my dress on the concrete steps, the river bloated
with murdered revolutionaries. Remember the detour? How I hid
stones in my pockets after you zipped up your pants in case I needed
to drown myself. Now you give the orders, tell me what to read
which side to take in the struggle, while Sascha teaches us to curse
in German. Some mornings I pretend to sleep through the dawn raid
all fury & lockstep. I want to lay stones on your grave, but I line them up
on the sink, my pebble army watching over me as I stick two fingers down
my throat again. This is how the end begins - wanting to be remembered
& forgotten among tombstones, forging my own name with all that is broken.
About the Author
Rebecca Faulkner is a London-born poet, children’s rights advocate and climate activist. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Red Wheelbarrow Magazine, Smoke Magazine, Wild Roof Journal, Pedestal Magazine, The Maine Review, On the Seawall, and Into the Void, among others. She was anthologized in the Best New British and Irish Poets 2019-2021, and has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology 2021, published by Sundress Publications. Rebecca was a 2021 poetry fellow at the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts and a seminfinalist for the 2021 Red Wheelbarrow Prize. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Leeds and a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. Rebecca currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and is working on completing her first collection of poetry.