TWO POEMS by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

/ / Issue 15


Great-grandmother dreamed there were
two of you inside, two scorpions locked
by their tails, exoskeletons on fire, one
wearing great-grandfather’s face, she forgot
the other but remembered two mouths
exhaling water, I kissed them, she told me,
all four cheeks, she saw both of you split
the sky where you hunt the hunter and burn
eternal, felt both of you move, siblinged
under my skin, but in waking, we heard
one heartbeat, saw one skeletal outline,
more water than body, more animal
than arachnid, all you, untwinned, I was stung
twice, she said, and I asked her
if it hurt, only the first time, but the stars
never stop hurting.  

Other women don’t tell you

you will forget
someone’s birthday
your son’s         winter coat
at his grandparent’s     when the weather turns    cold
his fingertips     and they aren’t blue
but a color                 for which there is
no name         like the pain
of childbirth     which they say     you will forget     
but you remember        every splitting        of your body      
and instead      forget the way       your people suffered
saying      there is            no language        for the cold    they bore
no language for                              forgetting
and yet you manage it            so easily
the way you fall asleep     the way
the crescent moon      hangs in the sky
like a closed eyelid         the way its sliver
sunk      snuck in      even after      you’d forgotten it      
the way you forget              forgetting
keep using                        the same word      
despite its lack          of meaning              and you tried
to go and buy       a new coat
one that would fit     your son’s     long torso
his arms      stretching to his knees
but other women
didn’t tell you      how he would grow
immeasurable    the black sky      at once     
everywhere and nowhere           the full
moon and the new         and everything
that you’ve forgotten     of that cold and night
of language      your people’s      birth-
and death-days     frozen in his bones     
though already      the days grow longer now     
by minutes only             like his legs
more ready to walk away