July 14, 2022

“What You Said About Me,” Poetry by Eric Forsbergh

“What You Said About Me,” Poetry by Eric Forsbergh
What You Said About Me 

The first two sips of beer are the best, 
you tease good-naturedly 
as we huddle 
on a second date  
-the dark eddy 
of a railway station bar.  

First, foam annoys the upper lip. 
Then bubbles bristle in the throat. 
On brew, the stomach bloats. 
But, oh, those first two draughts. 

A river of passengers flows past,  
head-on toward destinations, delays,  
side-tracks, cancellations. 
How we like to overlay our futures  
onto those of passersby, 
guessing at their plunges into rapids,  
cascades, often jutting rocks, 
hoping for a pool of calm. 
How are they a match? you laugh. 

A season on, and 
now you banter with me smilingly. 
Maybe this is more like wine, 
slow to unfold complexity 
in the us we’re tasting every day. 


Pursuit of Food 

The sea breathes restlessness 
onto the rocks 
as we toss lobster shells 
into a scooping surf. 

I pursue you through the food  
I introduce to you. 
You seem to like  
the indirect approach. 

Steamed clams in melted butter? 
Try it with your fingers,  
I suggest. 
The taste of sunlight poured  
through summer leaves. 

No, you insist,  
More like the time 
we drew into  
that first delicious kiss. 

as a meditative task, 
I forage oysters  
in the brackish flats. 
There’s odd comfort in the way 
my rubber boots suck out 
a path through eel’s mud. 
Not grounded, and free  
from being almost stuck. 

I offer what I’m able to.  
You tease me with  
Whose food isn’t both 
the message and the messenger? 
I won’t deny. You famish me.  
Let’s start with finger food. 


An Afternoon in the Smokies 

I say it started 
up at Alum Cave Bluff. 
The woman,  
later my wife, 
and I, on a blanket 
an hour’s hike beyond 
the last trail fork. 
She drew me to the edge 
to realize this: 
as the sun proceeds, 
the mountains and 
their laps of ridges and valleys 
fold, unfold, refold 
shadow and light 
light and shadow  
dense leafy textures  
always to a new illumination. 
We two alone,  
she eased me forward  
enough to see everything  
laid right in front of us. 


The Irish Elk 

The Irish Elk,  
its drive to mate 
with the largest antler rack 
like a pair of grasping hands, 
carried such a weight 
it went extinct. 
And what of you and me? 

It was a summer, 
our hands so greedy 
we could have gone extinct  

if not for  
a constant roof of stars
to frame the fall of meteors. 

But at least, in that now,  
that flagrant now  
which will not pause  
to take a breath,  
we drank each other’s company,  
taunting our demise. 



Asymmetry’s an attribute, 
you and I were soon to learn. 

The bow hand meant for tempo, 
the other hand fingering the tune. 

In light and heavy frictions 
of compression and release, 
we play out brio, 
we play out lentamente, 
with equal fluency. 

But sometimes, 
as I near the top of the stairs, 
or begin to fold a shirt, 
or transit a glacial thought, 

you emerge,   
entirely congruent  
with me, and again 
I revel in something  
like the mouth feel  
of a bursting tangerine. 

You take  
your coffee black. 
I don’t. 


A Study of My Wife Cutting My Hair 

She plants her palm  
on top of my head 
as though she would  
a cantaloupe. 
Sharp work wants close control. 

My hair is not my glory. Carry on. 

Her focus is a form of solitude, 
unreachable to me, yet still, 
still, so close to her skin  
I can smell the lotion  
she applied last night. 

How often I forget,  
until five weeks from now, 
again, she sets her palm  
atop my head, 
a blessing of this union,  
a promise of this pact. 



What You Said About Me

Forsbergh’s poetry has been published by JAMA, Artemis Journal, Zeotrope, The Café Review, Ponder Review, and many other venues, and was Pushcart nominated by The Northern Virginia Review

He has been a volunteer vaccinator against COVID-19 for his county’s public health department, and has travelled on medical mission trips to Appalachia, as well as twice to Guatemala during their civil war.  

What You Said About Me
#eric forsbergh#love poems#poetry#train station
1 comment
  • You take my breath away with your deep, original perception of the organic growth of love, from hand-fed courtship growing into passion then maturing into the supple music of a violin. The imagery there is most arresting for me, ranging from the playing of supple tones together to the bursting taste of tangerine. Your wife is worthy of each of these sublime reflections on love and your marriage is luminous.

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