Lie Awake Lake

Lie Awake Lake

Lie Awake Lake

Lie Awake Lake


Winner of the 2004 FIELD Poetry Prize, this most recent collection of poet Beckian Fritz Goldberg is a wry, elegant series of meditations on mortality and the body. Her poems are "breathtakingly beautiful and resolute in their conviction that words matter, especially in the fact of randomness and moral collapse." (Bruce Weigl)


It begins with something backward—
gardenia tucked behind
the ear as if scent could hear
its undoing

The fantastic bodice of a space
no larger than this plump
of sweetness, yeastlike, tropic

It begins with a turning, a trope,
that fragrance spiraling the cochlea
and the body confused by the enchantment
of the wrong orifice wrong passage—it was

After all where music should be unwinding,
cry shedding its epithelial layers, the tac-tac
of someone entreating, far away, some door…

But it was summer trying to enter, swoon its way
into the skull, the Parfum Fatale collapsing
on the organ of Corti

A secret island discovered by the Italian anatomist
of the last century though it was always there
in the body, the locus of quivering
like the letter M

Deep in its alphabet, the humming
on either side. Beginning is

The flower to the ear
the flute to the palm, the glittering mirror to
the back of the head, the steaming rice and the plums
in honey

To the feet, to the vertebrae, to the pineal gland:

Oblivion, oblivion, oblivion.

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