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Veronica Kornberg

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Veronica Kornberg

Veronica Kornberg is a poet from Northern California. She is the recipient of the Morton Marcus Poetry Prize and has been nominated for Best of Net and Best New Poets. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Indiana Review, New Ohio Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, On the Seawall, RHINO Poetry, Salamander, and Catamaran. She is a Peer Reviewer for the journal Whale Road Review. You can find her happily exploring among rocks and waves in the tidepools outside her home in Pescadero, or visit her website at


From the bone to the broth, the hidden
marrow of days leaching thin, from a wind-whack
of pie plates on bean and tomato vines,

from hand-sewn nights, threads knotted and bitten,
work of her hands, the kneading, the whipping
of cream for a cake, quick chop

of the knife, quick check down the list, scrape
of the chair as she rose, kiss on the hair,
swipe of cloth in the soft nick of the jaw,

until deep in the evening she finally sat with her cup
of Red Rose, feet puffy and propped on a kitchen stool,
the Trenton Times unread in her lap as we ciphered

our long division and the rule of the run-on sentence,
while stock thickened in the pot and the next day’s dough
swelled beneath flour sack towels and we settled, hungry
for the bread of her voice.

published in The Shore, Issue 8, December 2020
Reprinted in Stone Gathering: A Reader, Spring 2021


After turning back the clock
I rise at five because my body says it’s six.
              The dog

waits at the door and I follow her outside, feel the dark
enter me. Black brew filling a tankard.
              Black river.

I keep hearing we’re made of star dust. Instead
maybe we are dark matter, that mysterious force
              people keep searching for.

Where I live the stars are lavish on a clear night
but it’s the chilly emptiness that flows
              in and out of me

as I breathe. Heart, lungs, blood—
nothing inside me has ever seen light,
             all parts tick blind inside their skin casing.

Behind me, coiled springs of dried wisteria pods
explode like grenades, seeds spray like autumn buckshot,
             Doppler past my ears.

I once stood in a tomb along the Nile, gazing up
at a painting of Nut, ancient goddess stretched across the sky,
             her body full of stars—

the children
she kept hidden from her sun-god husband. Imagine
             having a belly of light, a mind of phosphor.

It’s mating season for the great horned owls.
Three or four of them call from the pines,
             burr the night with black velvet.

Somewhere deep below the mountains, the sun swims
toward the surface, dragging the so-called scales
             of Libra on its long line.

For now, Virgo touches the horizon—naked, winged,
brandishing a palm frond, the planet Mars lodged
             in her left hip socket.

From the dark hills in the foreground, one too-bright light
shines gamely from an empty parking lot.
             As if a light could keep anyone safe,

I tell myself. But I keep standing there, listening for the dog
scruffling in the dark, waiting for a touch
             of vermillion to lip the sky.

published in Menacing Hedge, Volume 10.02, Fall 2020