I.I doze off anxious and dream of disconnecting. I wake up average
and alone in a small town, with a juicer and a quiet sense of dignity. I
wake up married and in forever love. I have secrets that even I can’t
access. I have nightmares about men with machetes.
Everything follows an internal logic, even this. I saw my stomach in a
photo and was reborn a toad. It unfurled from my body like the desire
to self-destruct. As a woman I was never allowed to discuss having a
stomach save as a mission—something to overcome or else be
crushed by. Now I am a toad with coiled intestines and infinite
potential. My body is a gelatinous sea. I fill it with trash then look to it
The moon is rising in the daydream town. My bed is on loan from the
state and I am tied to it. Not in a sexy way. Under the bed there is a
voice that whispers: under my roof, under my rules. Under my thumb.
My thumb is useless now i sliced it open with a carrot peeler. That’ll
show them. But now there’s all these carrots to be done. I call my
grandmother for help but she is gone.
II.In the airport— souvenirs, my duty to
bring back pieces of the country like proof of the body grab
crude fistfuls of it hungry
like blockade survivors grabbed fistfuls of dirt
suck out sugar deposits
on the way to the hospital my father told me he kept thinking
“if I died this way it would be boring”
I try to retrace his steps but they renamed the streets. I look for him in tea, hot water bergamot slick round
my tongue the way coffee is bitter. In every texture you can give an egg.
I could cross the atlantic back and forth every day, eight hours on the plane, like a job.
I wanted so bad to be ahistoric. To rip it out my skin, grab by the root and yank, cross the street when I saw it approaching.
Grandmother can I come home now
can I fix us tea
can I remember how to give myself to others
can you tell me more about the dog
I've seen him in his new home in the new world which
holds him while he thrashes, keeps
him in a room out back. Stepfatherland—
shakes his hand, expects great things of him
but doesn't wipe the sweat off of his brow.
He's still convalescent, soon (they say) he will shift back from wolf to man
—it's ok, you're safe now. You can stop screaming in your sleep.
Stop carrying the knife in your back pocket. War is over.
But war doesn't leave the body the way it leaves a country
(say the word soldiers evacuate)
I mean, war leaves the body the way it leaves a country
(hollowed out hospitals, everything you love stacked by a river smoldering)
The way the bread knife shudders like a colt
I spit the dirt out from my teeth on my telnyashka
If our relation is the damage in my body let me tend to it in private
like all the warboys in my bed I can’t forgive but foster
like all that I will burn in my yard only