loosened in a sandstorm, or a wind tunnel, or maybe by a swarm of crickets, humming the pieces apart,
because she believed that there was something broken inside her head and floating loose there
unwinding cochlea from lumbar, coccyx from retina.
In her head cottonwood trees peel kites into soft sirocco – no – not white, but in her own house –
which she might displace by talking too loud.
In a kitchen knuckled by women, molded by wolves that leave prints in nothing,
her voice swells into morning, luminous and yawning, getting louder in her throat but losing its tongue: a respite, then quiet. “ Once,” she mouths, “I lost an entire language in my hair.”
De Retour [Returning Back]
Ukrainian/American, but neither really. A woman/omen. When I was little/stupid they told me my mother went away on a trip/ died when the earth shifted off its axis to turn away from sun/moon, take a drag of its cigarette/ joint and close its eyes for just a second, a stillness without noise/time.
Women, I hear, are irrational/ fractions. I’ve never seen the mother my city comes from. Understand, this is only sad to me. I can now speak/read the language I was born into/out of, but feelings of trespass haven’t gone far/far enough. A blessing/curse, that I think the words “Я тебя люблю” in Russian, yet when I speak/sing the waves that come out of my mouth sound like English is my only country/
-- Lana Rakhman was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and currently lives in Chicago. She has poems published, or forthcoming, in Psychic Meatloaf, Jet Fuel Review, Poetry South, Grey Sparrow Journal, Main Street Rag, Juked, Rougarou, and others. She is the poetry editor for the literary journal TriQuarterly Online, and has an MFA from Northwestern University.