Kristin Berger


The Body Loved is the Body Saved


The body loved is the body saved. Hand to chin, tilted for lips.
Velvet cottonwood leaves holding breath. Nipples welt
at the memory of grazing. Legs split to tongue, a river widening.
A body saved is a body loved. It wants to lay back into gravel
and watch you move over, into, blot out the stars.
When the world is about to end, press closer.
Like mineral water scalds rock, giving up resistance―
dip into the hot black silk. The earth loves us
and the body is saved, every time we are pulled under.







These fights last from season to season scouting
for a well-swept brownfield to flood and vacate.

Noise extinguishes itself in the contrails.
The heart wants one good panorama with no power lines.

A cigarette grass-fire divides rain-forest from shadow,
and below, a wedding ring slips into a river―

It might settle into the outgoing tide, onto another finger.
We could agree to send love away like that.

Recall one step when you crossed from forest to scree
and knew it as home, yet had no words.

In hanging valleys, small blue pools clutch every cloud.
Some vanishing points wire us from birth.

Tell me how the volunteer vine maple in my backyard,
with its hundred-thousand helicopter seeds

ever tapped groundwater; how it leapt above shingles,
rung itself year after year, with flourishing.




Kristin Berger

Kristin Berger, poet, essayist and editor, is the author of the poetry collection How Light Reaches Us (Aldrich Press, 2016) and a poetry chapbook, For the Willing (Finishing Line Press, 2008). Her long prose-poem, Changing Woman & Changing Man: A High Desert Myth, was a finalist for the 2016 Newfound Prose Prize. Kristin is the recipient of writer residencies from Playa at Summer Lake, Oregon, and from OSU’s Spring Creek Project, and her poetry has been nominated in 2017 for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent work has appeared in Four Chambers, The Inflectionist Review, Plum Tree Tavern  and The New Verse News, and is forthcoming from Light-Journal. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she hosts a reading series at the Lents Farmer’s Market. Visit Kristin at