Issue 4

Two Poems

by Tracey S. Rosenberg

Canyon conversation

Listen. There's no point pretending
I haven't been trying to tell you
all along, not when you keep lecturing me
from the far edge of every barrel and crevice
in a desertful of ash.
If this is the end, well, here we end.
Words never counted for much
when we picked our sand-tipped way
through a gulch of sorry stones.
You can shout at me, if you like;
you might even hear your echo shouting back.
As we end in a landscape cruel and deep
we may as well hurl voices, bombarded in return
by ghosts spewing up
from the blood-flicked gash of the world.


I wore my detective coat, and a hat
pulled low across my eyes -- wouldn't that make
him curious? I spoke in code of that
forest, this garden, a gate and a lake --
landscapes he constructed long before I skulked
down a corkscrew path riddled with low sighs.
I implied my source, I hinted my name,
waiting for him to weep and recognise.

Mysteries appear, whether we pray they do
or flinch in fear when they tap us from behind.
We imagine them into being through
boredom, or yearning to be seen in kind.
I tossed away the hat, and stained the coat.
He, humming well-worn tunes, added a moat.


Tracey S. Rosenberg spent her most recent birthday on Easter Island. Her novel The Girl in the Bunker which retells the final days in Hitler's bunker from the perspective of twelve-year-old Helga Goebbels, was published in 2011 by Cargo Publishing and became a Scottish bestseller in its first week. Her poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, The Frogmore Papers, The Yale Journal of the Humanities in Medicine, Standpoint, and The Journal of the American Medical Association. She's given readings at the West Port Book Festival, Blackwell's (Edinburgh), Waterstone's (Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow), and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She is a lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University and poet-in-residence for the artificial intelligence consulting company Winterwell Associates.She writes a blog at