Issue 6 / Poetry

Poetry by Gala Mukomolova

Dear Would-be Wife,

If I were a bear lumbering the river, salmon would land in my open mouth. Blood, fresh
water, then I could sleep


A girl comes to me with prickly-pear juice she harvested in the desert, stays the week. She washes clothes in my basement, strips rope from my bed-posts, and uses it for clothing line.


Once I was as good as married. My would-be wife wanted Billy Idol’s White Wedding for our song. My street was cast in ice and the dog’s knees tore.


A year is a skeleton made of twelve bones. My guest and I get a drink at a bar full of dead
plants. I read her At the Fishhouses line by line. Something makes her cry, I can’t be sure.


My guest was a teenage basketball star. Now there’s no cartilage left in either knee.


Little sister, what have you done? When my guest is gone I bring the rope back to bed and wind it tight around my throat.


Eight months ago, same bar, different girl. I read her At the Fishhouses line by line.


Dear Would-be Wife, I wish for you a wound as un-healing as the one in me. If I were
a girl, I would write this letter.


I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same … I am a bear waiting dumb in the water. Love fishes my mouth with her cock, groans come on. I can’t say anymore, even if I wanted.


October is a thick and hollow bone. There are cracks down the length of it. There is ache
when it rains.


After fucking, Love suggests a movie then laughs at the idea. A dry fish lodges itself in my dumb throat. A movie, I would like that.


When I was wed to be wed, we were without time. We dug a shallow grave, and the years
fell in; lovers falling off a bed, rapt.


nothing pure in this world. A witness to a secret death, I feel how wet I am. I taste myself.


No one knows how long a bear sleeps. Watch me lie down in the darkening den, wait.





Vasilyssa Considers The Dark Path


Everyone knows you can’t

enter a house with no doors

Slow rot between her throat

and heart, it’s not darkness

that scares her. Bones glint

moonlight and bonesorrow

The house is always spinning,

the house wants a song, sing

and it opens the house is not

a woman is not not a woman

(It was easy you know. We sat across from each other for a

long time not watching the TV. She said come closer and I

said no you come closer. In touching we opened a door we

could not close and did not want to. I said sleep in my bed

but I meant tonight not every night still there she was every

night I just kept sinking to the bottom like a stone I just lay

there wet and without thoughts.)


In the beginning, a girl was

very wise and very beautiful.

Good with her hands, she

slept soft cheeked on a horse’s

pulse. She knew nothing

about animals, only gentleness

a cat’s tongue in the milk

lapping. She loved that way too

(I kept calling you. I kept calling you even though I forgot

how telephones work how time how to make sound I kept

calling you I would say I’m nothing I’m a stone I’m covered

in bad milk I saw my father’s blue waterlogged body and I

couldn’t touch now untouchable forever and you would say

oh it’s hot here I’ll come soon I have to go now I can’t talk

too long I have to conduct this very important interview with

these people they’re so old and they could die I would come

but why is that girl in your bed why is she there?)


What built the house also dug

the grave. She sings the song

and loves death’s hands how

they mind their own business.




Rabbit Hole Without Rabbits

No animal was promised me         I’m not

like you                                           I don’t

pull up the raw earth and look for answers



If thunder cracks             I already heard it


that was her opening       against your neck



The smell of salt, wet             hand raking

dirt, dark

evergreen on fire                   What was it



you wanted?                           I know what

electricity does                 Cover my tracks



with twigs and fur                               Stay

hidden                                                   stay



What do you know about the tall grass?


When have you fallen down and stood up

the same?



Gala Mukomolova received her MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work has been published in the Indiana ReviewDrunken BoatPANK, and others. Monthly, she transforms into an astrologer called Galactic Rabbit. Lots of people believe in her. Selected by Dawn Lundy Martin.

Image © Random McRandomhead via Flickr Creative Commons.