from the Book of Answers


Ori Fienberg








One drop of tune can be forged into a song

that shimmers like precious metal.


Some words slither like serpents,

others shine like the sun.


When the orange tree calls me by name,

I am one of its children.


Fish come from rivers of lava

pouring out of the word ore.


When they towed too many vowels

the obsidian invented rhythm.








The  Os of locomotives

Encompass joys of our world.


No city does not know the language of sadness,

the rain cries its way onto broken umbrellas.


At dawn the ocean air says,

shhhhhhhh shhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhh.


I cannot find you a world

More open than poppy.


Malice is far sharper than jackal,

But that does not make love soft.








I can love a word and it can galvanize me

With the substance of its kiss.


A closed dictionary is a beehive,

the words are the honey in the comb.


In the one way mirror you look

on as you bury time.


What you see in that window is

what you have already lived.








As it sucks nectar from a solar flare the

butterfly reads the poetry which flies on its wings.


So the bees can understand their journey the blind man

reads braille directions from a life size earth.


The ant counts its dead with numbers,

we count the dead with names.


When a cyclone stands still

It is called potential.








Thoughts of love fall into an extinct volcano,

Love makes an extinct volcano erupt.


An asteroid is an architect of destructive

beauty, and then again life.


The rivers that never reach the sea

Go on speaking with shooting stars.








Ori Fienberg’s poetry, essays, and short stories have appeared in venues such as Diagram, Essay Daily, One Sentence Poems, Maudlin House, PANK, Passages North and Yes Poetry.  Selections from the Book of Answers, a response to Pablo Neruda’s Book of Questions, have appeared or are forthcoming in Always Crashing, Bad Pony, Neologism Poetry Journal and ZiN Daily.  A graduate of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, Ori currently works to promote academic integrity for Northeastern University, while living in Evanston, IL.  More writing can be found at