Jeffery Berg

Jeffery Berg's poems have appeared in Court Green, Swink, Harpur Palate, and MiPOesias. A Virginia Center of the Creative Arts fellow, Jeffery lives in New York and blogs at jdbrecords.

Death of an English Professor


She never seemed to like us.
Toward the semester’s end,
she left typed notes on the classroom door
Out sick. Please read the Woolf.  

The small thrill of a class cancelled—
relieved because I hadn’t read, a grin broke
as I walked down green-lawned Grove,
looking forward to a midday beer.

The day we were emailed of her death,
illness or suicide (we were never quite sure),
cruelly “Lay, Lady, Lay” was on classic rock radio
as I drove at dusk to Willow Lawn Mall.

As far from Virginia Woolf as I could do,
I waded into the brightness of Old Navy
where mannequins grinned—I turned
to look at what their cheery wide-eyes

were stuck staring at: a fluorescent light,
a sign marked SWIM—