On Tenterhooks


Image of a drawing of a forest: trees, tall grass, and a boulder in the distance.

Stockbridge, MA

I’m of a tautness,
as if some part of me
is further stretched
than where my outline
ends. The baby
is not sleeping,
the cord is cut
but finds its way back—
by this hook her foot
is the limb through which
I reach the world.
She sticks it out
and pulls her clothes
tight. Her clothes,
my skin, plead a tent
to hold her in.


Erica Ehrenbergs poems have appeared in anthologies and journals including The Paris Review, The New York Review of Books, Slate, The New Republic, Everyman’s Library Pocket Poet Series, Guernica, Harvard Review Online, The Mississippi Review, The Bennington Review, and The Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly. She has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford, and a poetry fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and is currently in training to become a Psychoanalyst at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies.

Drawing by Mike Tarnowski.

On Tenterhooks

Related Posts

Image of Sewer Bed Beach

Effluent of the Affluent

We are losing this place twice over: first to money, and then to sea. There are ways to quantify these losses: only 3,200 bushels of scallops were caught this past winter and more than $2 billion in real estate transactions were recorded last year. My parents aren’t sure where they should be buried.

The Hundertwasser House in Vienna

Etude No. 2 and Etude No. 3

in Rome a monumental marble typewriter / ticked out their story into the sky: two lovers / devour time. she lay on the lawn near Trajan's / column. he plucked letters from her dress, / her hair, served them to her by hand, by mouth.

Image of an intensely green trailhead.

December 2022 Poetry Feature: Kevin McIlvoy

On mine spoil. In debris fields / of asphalt and concrete and brick. / Upon sites of chemical spills. / Along lifeless riverbanks. / In clonal groves so hardy you / have to steel yourself for years / of killing to kill one acre. / Where construction crews rake off / the surface