The safest place to bury a body
is in another body,
is in your own body. Is your own dead body
inside the one you present to the world, the one that still talks and walks
across Pangea because that is how old it is,
that is how old faking is. You were born fake as your body
came out another fake body, you drank amniotic fluid shots
in the belly of the body your mother swallowed when the world told her so
and you breathed true breath then
and only then. A Russian can’t write a book without nesting dolls;
burying ourselves in ourselves is in our blood, our mother’s blood.
We birth, we bury, we swallow tongues down the body
buried inside the body. Tongue is a delicacy
you can serve at a funeral. The safest place to bury a body
is at a funeral.
Herring under a fur coat
Our misunderstanding was so thick its crumbs are
still here; I'm yet finding the hairs of
how little you knew me and
the stains do not lift
no matter how hard I try,
which really hurts because that dress was your favorite,
like you’d have me
dye the whole thing to match, like that was actually
your intention. I didn’t think
the wrong idea ruins worse than wine
but it does, when you stop drinking just
long enough to spill. I stopped for months;
talking got more difficult so I stopped that, too.
Vodka I never touch at all, unless it's
in a shotglass and followed by закуски,
small pickled bits that say, yes
I am bitter
yes, I am I am I am,
pass the black bread, the butter, pass it
down the length of the table, the width of
my face on the night you said,
"I think you are falling in love with me"
like you'd just read a book on manifesting
and also betrayal. I put my coat on. Under, I
am cold wet fish, scales and weights,
I am wide maw and narrow fin.
Mayonnaise to bind, beet
for blood and potato-flesh and
I've got teeth like you dream of
when you drink too much, when you go to the toilet
at 3am with your dizzy miscalculations, when
you grease the light-switch,
stumble, empty your guts on the tile like so many
cracked eggs. When you cry for mother,
when you can't get back to sleep
until you become a different person like that was actually
your intention. Our misunderstanding was so thick I say,
yes, I am bitter, I say, yes, I say I am.
Salt is for curing
Sickness won’t leave. Like an ill-mannered houseguest
it moves my furniture around, leaves messes,
takes too-long showers when I’m running
late. Yes, I’ve considered “doing something” --
I’ve consulted experts, by which I mean
books. Looked up definitions, identified species
from photographs. Composed a bestiary of my veins and
what fills them (not rivers but panicked rabbits
in a warren being gassed). An ethical grotesque.
I swell larger in the darkness, dab corpse flower on wrists,
smile behind glass with adipocere mouth, forever
luscious. Self-preservation is an art and I a masterpiece.
The kind of thing you bow before in museums but
cross the street at night to avoid. I don’t
haunted. Exactly. More like a spice jar that’s holding
more inside than volume would suggest possible. My
little tin lid fits snug but the pressure is really something.
I swell larger, dab wrists, powder my nose with sodium chloride.
Salt is for curing so
never run out.
SONYA VATOMSKY is a Moscow-born, Seattle-raised ghost and the author of poetry collection Salt is for Curing (Sator Press) and chapbook My Heart in Aspic (Porkbelly Press). They are an asst. editor at Fruita Pulp, where they also review poetry. Find them by saying their name five times in front of a bathroom mirror or at sonyavatomsky.tumblr.com.