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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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SELF-PORTRAIT

 

 

 

i.

 

Talking To Nikola Tesla:

your friends thought you drowned

in the Mur river, but really you

drowned in light. show me your

synesthesia; speak of dimension

and conception in triptychs. from

eight languages, which did you curse

in? of all your pigeons, the white one

was an omen. the white one broke

your back.

 

ii.

 

Talking With Celan:

Paul, can I call you selfish? that's not fair,

but neither is the Seine. you

saw the bloodmilk, the blackmilk,

and took to the river. lived just to

enter the water; my grandfather speaks

seven languages and this they could not

take from him at Mogilev Podolski. What

did they take from you that was so

different? What did you bury in those

graves in the sky?

 

iii.

 

Talking With Dead Relatives I've Never Met:

there are no hellos here. hollow

to say I've inherited your heart,

your star of David. I have no claim

to eyes–they are my mother's, before

her, my grandfather's; before him

his sister died of dysentery in a pigsty

and of this I am sure: there is some—

thing in us that longs for loss.

 

 

iv.

 

Talking With My Non-Existent Husband Via Email:

I watch you when you sleep walk.

Last night, you opened the window screen

and tossed out my lipstick, perfume,

watch, and ring. Now I can't outline

in pink, can't spray my chest

Beautiful, have no time and no

boundaries.

 

v.

 

Talking With My Non-Existent Sister Over the Phone:

remember the time our mother,

threatened with the promise of rape,

backed onto a balcony and told

her date that she was going to jump?

she waited until he left the apartment

and crossed the street, then yelled

keep walking; stole his butcher knife;

uses it to carve bowls out of wood.

 

                                                               ―Lana Rakhman