Prague and Tongue

      by Karina van Berkum

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.

Poet Karina van Berkum is from a beautiful small town in New Hampshire but is currently teaching (and being taught by) kindergartners in Slovakia. Her poem “When You Say, ‘Pass the Red Spray Paint’”was published in Autumn Sky Poetry while she was an undergraduate student at Emerson College in Boston. She loves language, coffee, and Barbra Streisand.

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