Judith Berke's first book was published by Wesleyan University in 1989, only eight years after she started writing at the age of 49. She had a chapbook published in 1993. Since then, she has been working on 4MSs, including one based on the work of van Gogh, and one on the book of Job. Her poems have been published in The Atlantic, American Poetry Review, Poetry, New Republic, Paris Review, and many others. She has recieved grants from the state of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts.


 

 

 


 


 

Judith Berke '52

 

Triple Toe Loop

Never mind the skater who does the jump
as if she’d been a top in a previous incarnation.
watch the one who falls

and picks herself up, and falls
and picks herself up again.
How in the slow part

she holds her hands out with the palms up
as if to say This is the best I can do
at this moment. A fire-

bird yes, but the story
she’s skating is anyone’s story. Look
the bird has no wings at all. See what long

arms the bird has. Spinning
up there. Holding her arms
in front of her, the way I did

When the man who loved me was shocked to see
me actually naked—
that is without any kind of perfection—

and I wished for one of those dreams
where you can fly—against
the heaviness of the earth.

Against the earth, and in love with it.