Night Elegy written by Ilex Fenusova at

Night Elegy

Night Elegy

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.

and again,

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.

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