after Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, 1893

My art has been an act of confession.
Edvard Munch’s 1853-1944 Norwegian

Do I foresee my end?
Young Munch on a bridge between
life and death? Yes, I keep screaming.
The man on the bridge bowled over
by the insistent wave. Identity
shattered, despair, isolation, forgetting,
horrors of death, the “cry of nature”
vibrates through his body.
How to hold? And what to?

Sky waves of red, yellow, orange,
waving fjord, the screaming man
on a bridge, his cupped hands, covering
his ears not to hear. Bloody
butcher shop, father screams
at customers, chunks of meat hacked,
sent to the grinder, dead chickens hanging
in the storefront window.
“Let me out,” I shriek.
Meek, sad mother abused.
“Throw water on me, if I faint”
Faint? I’m so young, what is fainting?
On a bridge between life and death,
I run out screaming.

Paula Goldman’s The Great Canopy, won the Gival Press Poetry award. “Late Love” poems by Paula Goldman was published by Kelsay Books in 2020. She holds an MA degree in Journalism from Marquette University and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. She’s a former reporter for The Milwaukee Journal.