by Gala Mukomolova
L. visits me for nine days. She comes bearing six airplane-safe bottles of prickly pear juice she harvested herself, small round pears and coffee beans meant for her mother. She asks why I have so much rope around my bed. When her clothes are fresh from the wash, she strips my rope and uses it for clothing line.
Over drinks at a bar called Bar, I read her Bishop’s “At the Fishhouses.” I am unsure what compels me; or why she’s crying. Something about principle beauty, the glittering dead fish, the sea lion surfacing again and again.
I remember the Tender Prince, how we sat at the same bar, read the same poem, wept.
Night, I fuck L.’s face and she begins to hum.
All night the squirrels scratch their way in
attic window bushy tails flicking,
Rubber mallet marks the ceiling, my warning
unheeded. I came here alone, years ago. Past the lumber yard wet
smell of cedar and fir.
Cockatiel cage nailed outside some apartment door, red bloom
vines cascading the entryway
⎯now gone. November⎯you came
with your books, your bitch, your kitchen goods and I made room
It’s been months now. Don’t come home.
You don’t love me, you say, and deflate
our air mattress, meeting me at the fold.
We’re in a bad lesbian performance piece.
You don’t eat that sandwich I made you.
I puncture your yoga ball. Or, the dog did.
This is a drawing of the dog.
I meant to watch something and be still
for a long time.
I’m not sure what belongs to me
It’s your money—stop asking me
what you mean.
Porcelain skunk, perfect q-tip holder.
Ceramic parrot, good for something.
If you don’t trust me
with this cup then wrap it yourself.
The dog hasn’t stopped barking
in hours—she’s anxious. I know you can lift the chair
what you can do is not the point.
Gala Mukomolova received her MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work has been published in the “Indiana Review,” “Drunken Boat,” “PANK,” and others. Monthly, she transforms into an astrologer called Galactic Rabbit. Lots of people believe in her.