Arielle Greenberg



Horror Films


Terrible dirtiness at the mouth’s corner.

Growing. Then

hunger, a bit mutilated, drilled.


I dream for the dream I cannot empty myself of.


This body’s old spoilers blame chemicals.


All turns out to be a split person—,

a second head-balloon the child draws

to indicate






I dream I am full of bad endings.

I do not end so


the nighttime stairs with its black levels.


Rolling thumps, then again the hunger.




Little dracula. Shape-changer

through the bedroom window.


And the eye follows like a gilded tongue.

The scene shuttering back and forth in the frame.


Epilogue of the empty myself.




Jacob’s Ladder Reversed


I tell a story awfully.

If I were to find a girl in a well, become a hero,

surely I too would take my life.

I have at lesser successes.

I have wrestled with such pale angels.


For example, I know a wonderful girl

who is wonderful because once we spoke

barely knowing each other while speaking

& she moved my furniture & painted it gold

& set me up with friends & lovers.

She is wonderful. Do you see?


Did I tell you that this was two years ago,

that I’d just been married?

This wonderful girl did not come to the wedding.

(She was not invited.) Still I think her wonderful.


Throw me a little ladder.

Let me climb back now to my grave.




The Little Cars: A Birthday Poem


Eve falls on the little cars

and the car-men, and the barmen,

and the baristas. Oh, Lolita.


Wither my white lace knee-socks.

My ruffle-backed panties in a tired twist.

I’m taking the long train home,

evolving, growing darker, Carmen Jones.


At thirty-two, she intones, an evensong.

It’s not so bad. But still.

There’s a train car behind my train car,

a caboose behind my little red caboose,

and no one’s fragrant girl explosion

in mocha or vanilla am I.


Vlad, impale me.

I grow light as the moon,

milk poured into coffee,

Lilith coming on to Eve by the cursed cradle,

and twice as full.


The trauma, this not getting old but

of getting to be so not even young.

And the karma, and the drama,

and low, and Lo.