Ampersand Revisited

Berry’s Ampersand Revisted is a lurid, lyrical trio of open prose poems marking up the blueprint of familial myth-making.

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Selected by

Ariana Reines





Every morning of senior year, your roommate ensures you awaken
to the sound of Elvis grimacing over his guitar strings on the tape
deck. He was sexy & contrite, & filled his pockets with kibble for
                  You get up from your bed as if from river mud &
straighten your psychic string tie. Though you will be largely ignored,
you are occult with fact behind the scorched creases of your prep school
uniform. You can explain anything, except why you stumble back to
your dorm bloodied from running through the woods.
                                                         Your roommate
sighs & unscrews his computer for the gray ganglion of pot hidden
behind the circuit board. For once, you spark up that treble clef of
smoke & lie back on the ridiculous aqua comforter you mother gave
you, holding your breath forever with runner’s lungs. It is the only
talent he envies you for.
                  In due course, you go off in ill-fitting tweed
to classes where your nervousness make you seem thoughtful: So
when you think about it…A Tale of Two Cities is really about being
impotent. All right, maybe not totally.
                                Long silences invariably follow,
which you endure by staring out the window at a lawn so deeply
green it looks botanically assassinated. Then the discussion resumes as
if you had simply never spoken.