A POEM by ADAM BERLIN

1 WEEK BEFORE WE STOP


On Monday, the first thing I do: walk to Whole Foods, steal fish.

My adrenaline high’s higher. If I’m

caught: chances of getting sick, close quarters, increase.

At Magnolia Bakery, for our kid, it’s easy to steal cupcakes.


On Tuesday I shop for peanut butter, our kid

needs peanut butter, and bread, eggs, jam. It’s a dodge ball game,

evade, but aisles and scared faces.


On Wednesday where I work closes. Our kid

likes to call me in my office when he’s sitting in my office,

swivel fast in my chair.


On Thursday I tell Katherine we can’t take the elevator anymore.

It stays on elevator buttons and handrails, on knobs, and our kid

touches everything.


On Friday our kid calls his Yia Yia. They

light candles on FaceTime. When they say good-bye, he

kisses the screen.


On Saturday I walk groceries to Grandpa Tim, 3 miles uptown. I

can walk in the middle of Broadway. A biker, too close and neon, sneezes. If our kid

gets it, I see the scene like a movie, I’ll get the biker.


On Sunday, I run on the bridle path. Then I take our kid

to a place in the park where there’s no one, only an oak tree. We

throw acorns not eaten during winter, then climb

small rocks and the sun’s cold.

 

Adam Berlin is the author of four novels, including Belmondo Style (St. Martin’s/winner of The Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley Award) and Both Members of the Club (Texas Review Press/winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize). He teaches writing at John Jay College in NYC and co-edits the litmag J Journal: New Writing on Justice. @AdamBerlinNYC.