Jeffery Berg
Jeffery Berg


after Sen. Lindsey Graham

I looked down at Sonia in her vivid red
and said, “Maybe these hearings are a time
for self-reflection.” Sometimes I am still
the young man in the Daniel High hall,
shirt tucked in slacks, books held to my side,
my classmates under the sun
out the window. Or I am the boy from Central
with slicked, parted hair standing
with my mother in Piggly Wiggly
as she contemplates supper. Sonia’s palms
flat on the table—I saw her
a little girl in a TV-lit room,
humming the gloomy chords
of the “Perry Mason” theme. I confess
this is a weak vision—a fiction
to try to link myself to her. One hand
out, hammering the air, I told her
that her views
“bug the hell out of me.” Tonight, alone
in my townhome, I study the youth
left in my ruddy face
and I admit in the glass
that I have lost. My mother again
in the gray heat of death
the country developing on
without her. Out the window
the wilt of dogwoods
in summer. In the dark
I go over what to say.
I picture Sonia solid
in the wall. I say again
to the wall, “I like you,
that ought to matter to you.”