Michael Broek

March 25, 2013 Broek Michael


—What does the child resemble when it is in the womb?

                        It resembles a folded tablet (pinkas).[1]


Having worn myself out naming Bewick’s wren,

Pediculosis pubis, and Saint Helena giant earwig


Cain names my problem, which is, “Your Father.”

He says, “You’re like some German orphan.”


I taught Cain how to harvest blueberries

with his skirt, how to remember his mother’s


birthday (when the calla lilies start to die).

He always wears a beatific smile.


When Abel died, I dreamt wild, empty outrageous

dreams of drowning myself and would have


except for his sister whom I loved and would have

published her name to the world. That was the Adam


I was. I mean, if my name equals “a man,” I don’t

understand definitions. Poor armorial Vater, Marlboro


smoker, insurance adjuster, grousing about the secretary

who fucks up your fucking claims and a future


sucking all the pink from out your lungs—

if I name you correctly will you die?



[1]    Hershon, Paul Isaac. The Pentateuch According to the Talmud: Genesis. London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1883. 170

Michael Broek is the author of Refuge/es, winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award for poetry, from Alice James Books, and two chapbooks, The Logic of Yoo, from Beloit Poetry Journal, and The Amputation Artist, from ELJ Publications. He has received fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and the Marble House Project, a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and two grants from the New Jersey State Arts Council in Poetry.