Yelabuga

By VALZHYNA MORT

Maria does her washing by the wall
so bare that you’d think she shaved it.

The window’s open, anyone can see.
Soap hisses. Air-raid warning rings
like a telephone from the future.
Her dress is nailed onto the laundry line.
From this gray garment, that is either guarding
or attacking the house, three yards of darkness
fall across the floorboards. She stands inside,
like on the bottom of a river, her heart an octopus.

Her hands so big, next to them, her head is a small o,
(the neighbors squint)

stuffed hungrily with stubborn hair.

 

Valzhyna Mort was born in Minsk, Belarus. She is the author two poetry collections, Factory of Tears and Collected Body. A recipient of the Lannan Foundation Fellowship and the Bess Hokin Prize for Poetry, she teaches at Cornell University.

[Purchase your copy of Issue 09 here.]

Yelabuga

Related Posts

Headshots of Miller and Gill

Marie-Andrée Gill: Poems in Translation from SPAWN

MARIE-ANDREE GILL
Marie-Andrée Gill’s Spawn is a surprising, colorful, virtuosic collection. Its brief, untitled poems span ’90s-kid nostalgia, the life cycle of fresh-water salmon, a coming of age, and the natural landscape of the Mashteuiatsh reserve, centered on Lake Piekuakami

Saudade

DIPIKA MUKHERJEE
In Itaparica, the beach broods / under ruddy sky. Two fishermen / and I search waves spitting / shells: ribbed green, a crown / for a queen; a conch; an obelisk; / a whorled shell; a thin swell / pink modica of a disc.

image of ceramic toy walmart

December 2019 Poetry Feature: New Poems for the Holiday Season

ADAM SCHEFFLER
A poem can’t tell you what it’s like / to be 83 and seven hours deep / into a Christmas Eve shift / at Walmart, cajoling / beeps from objects like the secret / name each of us will never / be sweetly called, can’t show / you her face and eyes like the