Posted by: Rachel Mallino | January 20, 2010

Dysfunctional Batch #18 – Roberta Feins

About the (dys)functional poet:
Roberta Feins lives in Seattle, and works as a computer consultant.  She received her MFA in poetry from New England College in 2007.  Her poems have been published in “Tea Party”, “Floating Bridge Review”, “The Lyric”, “Five AM” and “Antioch Review”. She edits the e-zine Switched On Gutenberg (

From “CROW”

Injury done and doing. Crow cawing about it all-time,
chews the past leather shoe shiny geegaws
for long discussion coughs hours bringing up the past
goes circle back and lower like hungry vulture.

No nasty cross stitch show side of her head
what she ever hatched. Maybe internal
sutures plump worm fingers breaking in,
brain moved this way, like that so she’d be right

my bird, but something dint work. Voice still
fierce Tourette’s lullaby. Words she use all wrong,
broke glass bottles of glue; broke glass bottles of milk.
Her every breathin rattle in raspy black throat.

In the nest, I was the runt cause I was the baby.
Baldest-headed youngster, last to feather
and too stupid (or too nice) to bite back
(but I learned). I have mistrustances.

Tryin’ to grow. Not gonna be the nestling
stretched out neck, frog-mouth beak
shoved off the edge. So where’s dinner?
Why, when all our beaks stuck up in the air

and open, mine not filled – till I flap
squawk for get one sudden pink worm
drop in.  So it was inna beginning,
so it gonna be. Word without end – Bad Crow.

Stead of dreamin of quiet and sofa, Crow dreamin
of shoutin and mess. Shiny things, raids on interests.
Not gonna wear no gold ring around my throat
ask to eat what I catch.  Play close to the vest.

Any eggs in your nest?  None in my basket,
too dangerum. Fragile twigs glued, squirmin might trash it.
You like an egg it ups and leaves, wants to come
before the chicken, has a great fall. Don’t leave a crumb.

Suddenly, all tears. Can’t afford em, gotten
so expensive. Luxury dry afterdark, cotton
lining against thorns; my nest always high and away.
Hard climb great view, always first to know.



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