Deborah Bernhardt received a BA in English/Art History/Photography from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. She has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center/Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, Summer Literary Seminars/St. Petersburg, Russia, Summer Fishtrap, Penn State Altoona, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. Her work appears in recent issues of columbia poetry review, Court Green, Cue, and Fence. Her first poetry collection, Echolalia, was published by Four Way Books. links:

Deborah Bernhardt's Web site

by Deborah Bernhardt

Payphone mouthpiece speckles.                Called the alive boy.                  I stand pixilated.
               One-hour processing,                three months dead. Over           and over
the sound gap                    and failure.                Easy to see lapses                  onshore,
                looking at drifting constructs.                All of us                little cases
                scampering after false constructs.      My latest emergency
has no valor.           My personal whatever           is not social witness, not political,
                could stay undeveloped                  in a partytime throwaway camera.        
Pointed, shot himself.                Whoops.             My late comfort smiling exactly to me,
his paparazzi.                His smile                I induced.                    Who ever did care
                about the speaker?           Secretly, the avant-garde did.       All others
are in the vocative; all others are locators.                 The personal epiphany,
                a petit mort.                 I read Christine’s poem of echolocation:           face is
                a face...face...faces.                If I tell the alive boy                    how the dead boy
gripped my shoulder,           looking to my dim eyes                rather than the meteor,
might feel unlost.                Live wire’s voice wants to know                why I do this.
I am talking as a bat navigates.                    Not to hear myself, but to know
                where I am.                    Energy is usually flung          with selfish boomerang
we want it returned.               Please be kinder.                 Narrative or Language,
all bats,                   longing for backlash.                As to know                    the direction
of our faces.                If the dead                are soundwaves                something fronts us.

"Tiding" from Echolalia. (c) 2006 Deborah Bernhardt. With permission of Four Way Books, Inc., All rights reserved.