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No. 8-9

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Julia Istomina  
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Gulag

Feeling along the grooves of the cave, pinched out
a thimble rock with cascading views of the killing floor. 
The floor of heaven.  Thirty times watched ways to kill a woman.
What they did with the small ones was beyond her point of
view, like a pentagram women and children weaved into
one anotherís shapes; infantile becoming large and in charge, old
woman shrinking into the girth of a thimble, an egg.
The infant.  Crawling what is and what should be, staggered on
a formless shape wailed to her, its quartered arms tanked into 
uncommitted angles, so broken she did not know how to handle it,
shape of head malleable, gurgling with birth sprite, left to right 
motion, unyielding to definite form, looking like nothing, wriggling
like an encapsulation of the antichrist.  She felt a form behind her
announce its cocoon, that itís been dead, the infant. The infantile
dead yet squirming in her arms, howling for form. Arms like jungle
tendrils chopped and abraded by authority and fear. Bait. 
And her eye opened wider as if to say look at where
my body led me. Look at what Iíve done. 
 

No Relation

Donít hesitate to believe that 
A man can bring down his son through pure
Heliocentrism, like shyness and lack of intimacy, a 
Maleness somewhat discombobulated, it had become
Everyoneís problem at this point, typical Ohioan family dissected by   
   seemingly
Random acts of dismemberment, he used to hold a tiny newborn in the

Palm of his hand.  
After the stupor wore off he realized his son only wanted a
Relinquished act of warmth, a body to lie next to, be with, a buxom
Type that wonít leave anyway, disregarding the stereo.  Fifteen
Years old he noticed the gleam, an unmitigated dullness in the photo stare

Of a well-kept secret, the body parts of young black men, although 
   allegedly
Found to be crimes of hate, he saw as interrogation

Of pathetic passion, something that claws to 
No end, endearingly fifteen, my boy stashed his first body in a creek,
Eavesdropping by the vine for the ignorant steps of intruders.
 

Correspondence

I feel like a tin can of condensed milk 
You are still my daughter no matter what you say
There is a large mammal approaching the coast
I am nomadís land
I bake in this tenement heat
The primordial spring sets its bear claws 
I bought pickles on Sunday
Clam-digging with your mother last Sunday
Your mother is still very beautiful, she looks like ó
You rely on the crutch of the past
Your legs are broken
My womb is broken, god speed and god bless
Do you know what love feels like
Are you a daughter no matter what you saw
I am a jungle cat and beastly at that
I am prowling with gladiator, saber-clawed paws
I am the super-flexible shadow that clings 
You always had wings, never the urge to fly
Are you still my daughter, can I have cookie or 
Pickles, I bought pickles on Sunday
My legs are broken, but I rely on my cataclysmic wings
I thought only angels had wings
If I am your daughter I am not a devil
Are you still my daughter no matter what I say
I am a jungle saber, I am green and unseen, a green devil
Poisonous mushrooms, we ate last Sunday
You should have died, sure would make it easier on me
You are still my daughter, no matter what you say
Do you know what children feel like
No I will never know
 
 
 
 

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