written by: Ilex Fenusova
a girl is curled next to a wall
and just barely touching her cheekbone
is a windowpane.
her face is raised to the southern night sky
but she can't remember the name of cassiopeia
and she can't find the seven sisters.
she crouches very still,
not wanting to waken anything
that should not be woken.
instead of breathing
she counts the empty spaces in her skin
imagining them to be the constellations she's missed-
here- in her- is where they belong;
and just for a moment she thinks
that if she is quiet enough
they will remember her.
a fox is curled next to a wall
and just above his patchwork head
is a windowpane.
his eyes are frantic with haste,
his muzzle soggy with grief.
he licks the remaining drops from alabaster teeth
with open, panting jaws and he would like more.
he senses a woman there, on the other side of the facade;
she smells of stained glass and cotton bedclothes.
how he'd love to smear her body
with this beautiful shade of red, this grief.
she won't come any closer. she holds her breath
and looks at the sky, always at the sky, she doesn't move.
he shifts his wait.
a man is sleeping in a bed that he hasn't noticed is way too small for him.
he crawls through restless sleep, caverns of blankets,
bunkers of pillows. nothing really satiates.
and as he does this,
an owl in a tree outside his window
shifts her wings every time he moves.
this man curls and twists over and over again
in many positions that just don't suit him.
as he does this,
the great bird blinks and adjusts its feathers.
he mutters as he tries to slumber, black
amorphous words known only to nobody.
the owl waits for her food; she has young to nourish,
and she's been coming to this house for four weeks now.
her chicks are plump, flightless things.
they wail and echo for more-
displaced nouns, demanding verbs,
the delicacy of past tense.
she is patient- she knows that the quietest hour
coaxes the slender, inky words from this man,
drifting out the open window and into her beak.
none of this is true. there is no woman. there is no man. there is no bestiary.
not even a photograph. memories are subject to slender, inky words unspoken
like obsidian in your pocket. no photograph. no photograph. no photograph.
Should have kept a Rolodex of publications but hindsight is 20/20. Items seen here have not been published before.