Against Blessings

by Carol Berg

I believe some blessings arrive
in small incandescent bubbles
I pop with my too-severe stare.

I believe the bristling
hair on my tense arms
bewilders other blessings. Causes them

to back-up, a hasty reverse.
How does one receive
blessings anyhow—open mouthed?

Bowed head? Anointed with Greek
olive oil that falls
with the pattering of tiny

feet across my chest? Or more
like some wild North Carolina horse.
Do blessings gallop or leap

into my bloodstream, a pink
courageous salmon? Or are they
some mysterious mosquito

one must endure,
a bite to un-scratch
to show a Buddha’s patience?

Welt of pride. Pustule
to show an itchy belief.
Or do blessings roll

over me like fog,
swallowing the body
from itself where magic

performs unseen? And when the sun
finally penetrates this mist,
condensing it to a few clinging

drops among the too-high
timothy grass, can something
be left for me?

CAROL BERG’S poems are forthcoming or in Crab Creek Review (Poetry Finalist 2017), DMQ Review, Hospital Drive (Contest Runner-Up 2017), Sou’wester, The Journal, Spillway, Redactions, Radar Poetry, and Verse Wisconsin. Her recent chapbook, The Johnson Girls, is available from dancing girl press. She was winner of a scholarship to Poets on the Coast and a recipient of a Finalist’s Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Photo: “Bless” by Ahmed Noureddine