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2 Poems

Alina Pleskova



Fuzzy sunlight today
& lines coming in all clipped

I cast off gaggy assurances on tea bags, 
chocolate foil, the yogurt lid, etc.

My form is a body, got it
I even know some of its constraints: 

can’t open intimacy like a door, 
sighs to propel itself around,

starts to visibly emote & back-peddles
into Hard to explain over text

There’s a sort of stamina
in hanging out, waiting

to feel certain, or to arrive—
feeling how limited yr motions become

Emma writes, I just want to hop
from dysfunction to dysfunction

& I think of water lilies, how each piece
of a rhizome can spurt a whole new plant

How each new ache takes root
in adjacency to another one

I take endless pics of my legs, framed
in a rotating series of sidewalk mirrors

while waiting to get buzzed in upstairs
The shop owner leaves them out every day

& I’ve never seen so much as a crack on one
It’s the best spring my legs ever had,

pumping up & down the stairs to someone
waiting in their 4th floor walkup,

fucking thru my lunch break, transitory banter,
tending to dailiness. I broke up w/ everyone

in the same dizzy spell of a week
It was hardest w/ you

I talked about liminality
& felt so foolish

In Russian culture, to speak 
or touch or hand objects over a threshold 

is to invite rotten luck
That’s all I wanted to relay

I’ve grown into knowing
no one registers

the gooey human displays
one self-admonishes over

but nonetheless waited
to sob in the Twombly room—

subsumed by those giant canvases
& piling new words, a careful & useless cairn

Like, When I said
do whatever you want to me,

what I meant was
get me out of here

I keep still sometimes for hours,
& all the wrong details creep in:

debt down to the cent, cherished faces
of those long or recently gone, 

what my body withstood
felt again as a literal muscle memory

My mother tells me how Tanya
manifested her dream lover:

she bought a pair of slippers
in the dream lover's presumed size

& wore them around
while talking to them

This helped her get a clear sense
of the dream lover's attributes, 

my mother explained—
even the make & model of his car

When Tanya’s dream lover appeared,
they moved to Switzerland

w/ his sportscar & the slippers
It happened just that way

If things turned out differently,
it would’ve been a bleak story:

a lonely woman talking to a pair
of slippers, not even in her size

Where I come from, prosperity
& desire fulfillment hinge

on superstition & the stars
but it’s uncouth to call it out like that

If it had turned out differently,
my mother said

I wouldnt've told you the story—
будь проще

meaning, Be simpler
Or, to translate another way:

name yr need,
then call it home 


Wonky satellite feeling 
after a birthday

as if hours will find
a suddenly altered sequence

beyond where to, again

An airport vegetable aura
about me—

rucked almost-freshness 
easily overlooked 

by someone distracted
or making do,

& they are
I mean, we

I keep idly smearing 
an orange-ginger lip balm 

you left in an old winter coat—
a formerly-loose button gone,

another newly dangling
A wisdom of our age mandates

Toss what doesn’t spark joy
but I'm into bittersweet reverbs:

how objects, like nicknames,
stick around long after their sources

how people don’t vanish 
when you stop loving them

Alina Pleskova lives in Philly, but comes from Moscow & so does her first gen guilt. Poems appear in American Poetry ReviewCosmonauts AvenuePeach MagEntropy, & more. She's the author of the chapbook What Urge Will Save Us (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2017) & is working on a full-length collection about desire as a lifelong condition. She coedits bedfellows with Jackee Sadicario.