Peggy Dobreer's "What the Bones Weigh," "Metamorphosis And a Fountain", and Three Photographs

Peggy Dobreer is a poet, choreographer, and curator who brings movement, somatic meditation, and a deep love of letters to her Slow Lightning Lit daily online practice. Dobreer studied poetry at Charles University, School of Anglophile Studies in Prague, received a residency with Suzanne Lummis at the Institute for the Study of Los Angeles, at Occidental College, and is a 2021 Sharon Olds Fellow at Community of Writers in Poetry.


Dobreer has two collections from Moon Tide Press: In the Lake of Your Bones, 2012 and Drop & Dazzle, 2018, and a recent chapbook, Forbidden Plums, with Glass Lyre Press, Chicago. She was awarded Downey Symphony Orchestra’s 2017 Poetry Matter’s Prize, in association with NASA, and has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize.

With over 100 poems in publication, Dobreer was most recently anthologized in Kyoto Journal: Reflections from Asia, Cultural Weekly, Aeolian Harp Review, Volumes I & V, and is upcoming in Beat Not Beat: An Anthology of Los Angeles Poets from Moon Tide Press.  Books, links and how to connect can be found at:

What The Bones Weigh

The bones pile beneath our lecture hall.

Behind the gates of Josefsov, stones slope

together, bodies dug ten deep or more,

make a minyan of uncles rolling over.


Surely, the loss of a bowl causes turning,

or the distant crush of a crystal goblet.

The buried temple up to its ear for

profiles kept low in survival's wake.


How the ghetto shrieks of a failure

to annihilate. How the Golem keeps

the story to himself. How bones toss

and wail. How ground swells, and limbs

join with eighty thousand names more.


How the disappeared take march,

etched in wind and sudden rain.

How they cling to the heat of our late                                                                 

summer lesson and strike us dumb.


How this intoleration makes a tomb

of the class, invades this mausoleum

of moldy books and mute forefathers.

They storm these harbored halls, windows

slamming shut. How the panes shatter.


 © 2022 Peggy Dobreer




Metamorphosis And a Fountain


                       "I am a cage, in search of a bird."   -Franz Kafka



David Czerny has sculpted

two metal men who

pee naked on the patio

outside the Kafka Museum.


People want to know what

Franz would think of this,

mechanical hips that

sway back and forth.


Penes that rise and fall in

two right hands. The lefts

go 'round backs as though

to bow or minuet.


Pelvic bones recline,

relax. The two, face-off,

tres nonchalant, doppelgangers

making a fountain of liquid


fractals across a shallow pool,

a splishing line, a vector of

wavelets, an expletive of spill. 

Verdigris over copper, sun on


water, three distinct worlds

of Kafka's Prague. Inside, an

unread letter to his father, sepia

photos. And journals he insisted


be burned on his death. A single

broken promise becomes a gift

of his wit to the world. Perhaps Franz

and Max Brod pissing on last requests?

© 2022 Peggy Dobreer


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