wrong / wrongly // bad / badly
as an unsuitable marriage / a narrow ledge
a slender dagger / a hinged seat when turned up
as a shot spoiled by the cue’s slipping off the ball

to speak evil of any book / regarded as feminine
or devotions / or prayers / white berries growing waxy
a cold dry north wind that blows over
as shot from a gun

thrush that eats to come to grief / various parasitic
yellowish flowers / certain evergreen plants
to call by a wrong name / a woman who  
faux pas growing on the branches


Barbara Tomash is the author of three books of poetry, Arboreal (Apogee 2014), Flying in Water which won the 2005 Winnow First Poetry Award, and The Secret of White (Spuyten Duyvil 2009). Recently a folio of poems from her book-length series PRE- appeared in Verse and additional selections were published in Web Conjunctions, Colorado Review, and Denver Quarterly and are forthcoming in Hotel Amerika. The poems in PRE- spin out from dictionary definitions for words beginning with a particular English prefix. Her work has also appeared in New American Writing, VOLT, Bateau Press, Verse, Jacket, OmniVerse, Witness and numerous other journals. She lives in Berkeley, California and teaches in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University.