A yoke of honey in a glass of cooling milk.
Bats playful like butterflies on power lines.
In all your stories blood hangs like braids

of drying onions. Our village is so small,
it doesn’t have its own graveyard. Our souls,
are sapped in sour water of the bogs. 

Men die in wars, their bodies their graves. 
And women burn in fire. When midsummer
brings thunderstorms, we cannot sleep

because our house is a wooden sieve,
and crescent lightning cut off our hair. 
The bogs ablaze, we sit all night in fear. 

I always thought that your old trophy Singer 
would hurry us away on its arched back. 
I thought we’d hold on to its mane of threads 

from loosened spools along Arabic spine, 
same threads that were sown into my skirts, 
my underthings, first bras. What smell

came from those threads you had so long, 
sown in, pulled out, sown back into the clothes
that held together men who’d fall apart 

undressed. Same threads between my legs! 
I lash them, and the Singer gallops!  

And sky hangs only the lightning’s thread. 
Like in that poem: on Berlin’s Jaegerstrasse
Arian whores are wearing shirts ripped off
sliced chests of our girls. My Singer-Horsey,

why everything has to be like that poem? 

Copyright © 2014 by Valzhyna Mort. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 16, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.