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Two poems by Alex Braslavsky


And we all grew mountains in an intense drowning flat curve and dawn combined for fear

these parades are longer than we thought, bathing apart as though not lovers. Besotted,

dry as the sea with shells upturned stuck to the leg, is how we manufactured prayer.

The prayer dry on the backs of our hands in lace quiet undergirds of rotund teapots.

Bidding against the root coy of ankles an emerald crème de menthe shimmers puncture

to a basilisk the size of a mite, basking in heat poured through diminished treetops.

Yawn flame. Flare for a nightly wood, a word that deepens upon the lake in lacquer:

all the important dog can do in the company of good cows flanking their sought

goddess for a moment upon my lawn quilted on the shoulders of the wrong bear.

Gleaning advice from new someone’s decadent care let discard flagrant microknives,

darn opened heels with candied play at the wheel another rain soaking goats,

as dawn combined measure for fear. We drove the ground heads into the wallpaper hive.

Hydras vibe in attenuated snow on shredded dossier of flatbed groats,

their freakish seconds of nature, poured hot through flying leaf with its own leg of deadliness.

We did not prepare. Long dress in a nevertorn fleece kite. Silk weeping in old yolk.



OF OUR TERRESTRIAL LIFE


1.


You were a dog. We met in the cynic’s lounge and a dime clinked.

It filtered in a light mahogany deliverance. The peal was stippled,

pleated, pale—. Had no crinkle and an icon saint winks. We all went

sideways through the gale—. And ulterior motives were dinky with their

bonsai lightning. The way my skin skins a second time.

Your electric firm. The cat presses ON. The rain plays many kinds of


2.


precipitation. Only for proprioceptive types. We’re all here

watching your serial monogamy. Teeth marks in my wrist. Never

come by for tea. How a smile was another marmalade. Of doves of the cactus of heat rising


3.


to the trellises of my outer face.

Of how we went for lack. Tracking clawfoots in every state. And how you sent the doves at

the wrong time pale registry

pale.— and a gold wrung itself into mind. That throat caught itself in regalia. And dime

masquerading as diamond. Dear chief, we haven’t any

cows to offer for dowry. Your snake grows safe on this knifeblade teething. And

we all slithered to smithereens to the beat of

our own dastardly guitar. It’s not that serious, he said. Flesh, you’re

only a friend.


4.


It was sincerely fraught, he said. And are you a beginner?


I said I slept on the bus to avoid talking to you. A daze. It is not okay in the universe of trinkets to not be on the shelf. We haven’t spoken for ninety days, and you turn your profile west when you splice to avoid antagonism. I told you the same story in a drought. The water hole whistling. We hadn’t counted our step. It was liquor left me in a fret. The flit of our eyelids under duress. The countess enunciated her step


5.


onto the balcony. We haven’t gone off the deep end in our silken trousers. It is a flagrant menace who leaps through the front door of my swollen house. How many troughs are in the yawn of a cat’s ribbed upper mouth. The candle is going down. The candle is flaming loud. It is not okay in the university of tokens. The fruit already ripens. You win if you eat


the most pasta. You can only use your fork and your mouth. You cannot force yourself to throw

up in order to make space for more pasta. Reach to your translation practice as a method for grasping at the whisps of your remaining sight. Reach to your practice, whispering in the harsh light that obscures the icon. Mary with three hands. Mary holding two hands aloft, the incubation circle at her center.







Alex Braslavsky is a poet, translator, and scholar. She is a doctorate student in the Slavic Department at Harvard University, where she writes scholarship on Russian, Polish, and Czech poetry through a comparative poetics lens. Her translations of poems by Zuzanna Ginczanka were released with World Poetry Books in February 2023. Her poems appear and are forthcoming in The Columbia Review, Conjunctions, and Colorado Review, among other journals.

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