by Martina Reisz Newberry

If you believe in ghosts,
I think you must believe
that earth’s good smells live on
and that the dead will act
on fury and on fear.

You must believe that, while
the dead are under the
dirt or parked in urns, they
still have a plan. They want
to see their favorite movies

again and scratch their dogs’
bellies, make love in warm places
and buy chocolate at the market.
I’ve sensed ghosts now and then,
turned to where I thought

my mother’s eyes might watch or
my father’s fingers might touch.
I’ve found my cupboard door
ajar and heard wild words
in the dark. If you believe

in ghosts, you must believe
that living is not a huge
salt sea, but a shallow
stream in which most things, like
the restless dead, stay afloat.

Perhaps You Could Breathe For Me

Martina Reisz Newberry's picture

Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is WHAT WE CAN’T FORGIVE. She is also the author of LATE NIGHT RADIO, PERHAPS YOU COULD BREATHE FOR ME. HUNGER, AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE: POEMS 1996-2006, NOT UNTRUE & NOT UNKIND (Arabesques Press) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press)., Ms. Newberry is the winner of i.e. magazine’s Editor’s Choice Poetry Chapbook Prize for 1998: AN APPARENT, APPROACHABLE LIGHT., She is the author of LIMA BEANS AND CITY CHICKEN: MEMORIES OF THE OPEN HEARTH—a memoir of her father—published by E.P. Dutton and Co. in 1989., She has written four novels and several books of poetry, has been included in Ascent Aspirations first Anthology and has been widely published in literary magazines and books such as: Amelia, Ascent Aspirations, Bellingham Review, Southern Review of Poetry, and others., Newberry lives in Palm Springs, California with her husband Brian and their benevolent dictator/cat, Gato. All her books are available from

Last updated August 05, 2011