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  Arielle Greenberg
Arielle Greenberg is the author of Given (Verse, 2002), and the chapbook Fa(r)ther Down: Songs from the Allergy Trials
Arielle Greenberg
Photo credit:
Rachel Zucker
(New Michigan, 2003). Current projects include co-editing, with Rachel Zucker, an anthology of essays on women poets and mentorship. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the anthologies Best American Poetry 2004 and 2005, Legitimate Danger: American Poets of the New Century, and Isn't It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets and in journals including Conjunctions, the Denver Quarterly, and the American Poetry Review. She teaches in the graduate and undergraduate poetry programs at Columbia College Chicago, where she is a co-editor of the poetry journal Court Green. She lives in Evanston, IL with her family.

Me and Peter Lorre Down by the Schoolyard

from My Kafka Century

Arielle Greenberg
Me and my sidekick, were both pederasts. Like you.
Were both in love with the girls, non-Jews.
Ja, ja, we dress in our mothers nightgown,
we hang all the way around, Hungarians in ruin.
Know us, our terrible noses, our clown makeup:
we have no papers. We crawled out of the rat-hole.
Like you, we wear our difference about our necks, blind as a fox stole,
its glass teeth, its yellowed eye. The little girls, they cry. Like I.
Please, policeman, heed our crime: ink the territory
like a six-sided star around where we broke the kid from her line.
They keep a record of each beggar, the names in a ledger,
and later youll know the clove of our hoof. So clever.
Kindermurder—it sounds sweet as a game and we want food.
Weve got a toy ferris wheel full of knives, we smear
our mouths into sugary smiles, then brandy, then into gash.
A tubercular rag, youve caught our rash, the balloon-man
making nein, one girl stuck in the telephone wires.
Lifting higher. We take them from their candy,
we take their names. Like you, they are never the same.

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