Salvation by Martina Reisz Newberry


We need to rest whenever we find
trouble or it finds us; rest on a cliff

or a patch of grass or a flat rock

where the ocean barely reaches.

When the police come to say

“There is trouble here,”

we need to find a resting place

several feet or 100 miles away.

When the Big Boys come to take
our money, we need to rest on

their home steps and walkways

and turn our empty pockets inside out

to show them what empty looks like.

When the giant fingers

of the Shadow People begin to close

around out throats, when the steel toes

of their boots come too close to our knees,

our resting places must be readied,

even if they are just concrete slabs

behind old boarded-up liquor stores.

When the religious come to show us

where heaven is, we must say–

we truly must say–we already know–

thank you but we’ve already found it.

Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent books are NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE ( from Deerbrook Editions), and TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (Unsolicited Press). She is also the author of WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions). LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press). Newberry has been included in It Happened Under Cover, Ascent Aspirations’ first two hard-copy anthologies, also in the anthologies In The Company Of Women, Blessed Are These Hands and Veils, and Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women. She has been widely published in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts.