Margo Berdeshevsky, born in New York city, often writes and lives in Paris. Before The Drought, her newest collection, is from Glass Lyre Press, September 2017. (In an early version, it was finalist for the National Poetry Series.) Berdeshevsky is author as well of Between Soul & Stone, and But a Passage in Wilderness, (Sheep Meadow Press.) Her book of illustrated stories, Beautiful Soon Enough,  received the first Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Award for Fiction Collective Two (University of Alabama Press.) Other honors include the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America, a portfolio of her poems in the Aeolian Harp Anthology #1 (Glass Lyre Press,) the & Now Anthology of the Best of Innovative Writing, and numerous Pushcart Prize nominations. Her works appear in the American journals: Poetry International, New Letters, Kenyon Review, Plume, The Collagist, Tupelo Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Southern Humanities Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, & Jacar Press—One, among many others. In Europe her works have been seen in The Poetry Review (UK) The Wolf, Europe, Siècle 21, & Confluences Poétiques. A multi genre novel, Vagrant, and a hybrid of poems, Square Black Key, wait at the gate. She had a first career as an actress in NYC, performing in world premieres of Harold Pinter, crying and dying on television, and touring Shakespeare. She may now be found reading from her books in London, Paris, New York City, or somewhere new in the world. Her Letters from Paris may be found in Poetry International, here: For more info kindly see:

Before Noon

From a tallest branch of the oak
whose leaves will make no wreath
through the lowest black cloud
brush of a barn-owl’s wing tip cuts
under the same wide sky
that lists to blood-fall of a beheaded
son--- his mother’s stone
reach--- but that must be another nation
another sound--- this wide meadow
only breathes a breeze
only white morning glories open
with moths, their arms, their silent count.

[for James Wright Foley/photo journalist /October 18, 1973 -- c. August 19, 2014]
First published in "Before the Drought" / Glass Lyre Press/2017)

My Long Drum

But I stopped the prayer.

When the stair broke under the weight of wanting You.
Closed the now-I-lay-me-eyes. Fists in them like guns.

While temple candles spit light at You who made it.
Light. (Not a plastic red lamp above an ark.)

Light. While You who made it,     was that
You, crying? Begging for water in the dark, You, God?

In birch trees, You knew me     knelt while I     held me     while  
Bone after bone after bone. Bent. Unblinking, listened. Unhearing,    
Hear o Lord the Lord our --- is one.     Deaf stones in Your ears.

But knew the reach of my paw, its red flesh.
Hear o Lord the Lord our,     I'm starting. I'm standing from fallen
Wish. Branch. Mud of Your making. Standing ash. Standing woman.
Of my making. Starting.    Adding,     please,      Dear.

Between beg and mouth, black praise, going silver. Yours. Or mine.
Between Hear o Lord my --- may the words of my mouth, say --- Hear,
The words of this mouth. Say leaves turning silk. Say dove.
Your hand, how it strokes my      bended.     How You love.
Closed, now, my now-I-lay-me, and hear: Lord, let me.  A river. Let my
Skin. Let the mud. Let the praise. Let spilled word     un-know. The knife  
  --- Withdraw. Let me be woman. Let each eye un-shroud. Let God     be holy  
In my mouth. One morning.

My long drum,
My long drum,
My long drum,

where You have
halted Your horse.

first published in Between Soul & Stone (Sheep Meadow Press/2011)


Before another blatant hour, do not love a country;
it will turn you into a killer, defending your tree, your road,
your stars. Try not to protect the wren, its furred
babies. Say prove yourself to me again, I of doubt's
despair born deep in winter. Prove we are not born
in the cauls of killing.

first published in "But A Passage in Wilderness" (Sheep Meadow Press/2007)


Margo Berdeshevsky



© 2018 Margo Berdeshevsky


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