Doris Ferleger


Dragonflies line up
in long rows along lake ripples.
Wings out straight,

even at rest.
Eyes, black pearls.
30,000 lenses per eye.

If I had but one more
lens to see through.
If I could rest

my wings.
If I could steady
the dock.


Loam—the different-sized particles leave spaces in the soil for air
and water to flow and roots to penetrate.

Plant your seed in me and I will grow you sweet and various
golden and deep-burgundy heirlooms, green beans to bite into raw.

Depend on skies changing and changing again.
Depend on sun and rain and mudslides difficult to drive through.

Wait. I will harden. Wait. I will soften.
Leave spaces between each seed.


you said after burying it behind the house—
the custom-made neoplastic brain-dome—
a reverse night sky, tiny black stars
clustered on a white dome, black lines
drawn to connect constellations
of suspected tumor sites. Anyplace
inside that steel room made me weak
in the knees, doubled over at the waist,
even though you kept smiling at me,
safe under your dome of stars.
She needs to step out now, you told the nurses,
even from your lying-flat position
you could see I was about to
pass out. Radiation attacks
all possible enemy outposts—
one must not to think of the pink-
immune-cell innocents
that would surely go down too.
Radiation fries the brain, honey,
be ready for anything
, a friend said.
I wasn’t. Especially for your triumphant
smile when returning from your final
treatment you presented me with
the brain-dome the way our cat comes
home with his kill proudly between his teeth.
I am sorry for making you
need to bury the one thing you had
come to count on:
tiny stars
in a reverse heaven,
clustering together.


When even the lightest touch
was too much, you breathed

your warm breath onto my breasts,
pelvic bones, each rib, even the one

long ago borrowed
from the dust-bright earth.

Doris Ferleger is a winner of the New Letters Poetry Songs of Eretz Prize, Montgomery County Poet Laureate Prize, Robert Fraser Poetry Prize, and the AROHO Creative Non-Fiction Prize, among others. She is the author of three full volumes of poetry: Big Silences in a Year of Rain (finalist for the Alice James Books/Beatrice Hawley Award), As the Moon Has Breath, and Leavened, as well as a chapbook entitled When You Become Snow. Her work has been published in numerous journals including The Cape Rock, Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, DASH Literary Journal, Delmarva Review,Euphony, Glint Literary Journal, Good Works Review,L.A. Review, Poet Lore, Rougarou, The Virginia Normal, Whistling Shade, and South Carolina Review. She holds an MFA in Poetry and a PhD in Psychology and maintains a mindfulness-based therapy practice in Wyncote, PA.