Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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I, This Body

I, this body into which the hand of God plunges,
empty-chested, stand.

At the funeral—
Momma Galya and her puppeteers rise to shake my hand.

I fold our child in a green handkerchief,
brief gift.

You left, my door-slamming wife; and I,
a fool, live.

But the voice I don’t hear when I speak to myself is the clearest voice:
when my wife washed my hair, when I kissed

between her toes—
in the empty streets of our district, a bit of wind

called for life.
Wife taken, child

not three days out of the womb, in my arms, our apartment
empty, on the floor

the dirty snow from her boots.  

From Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky. Reprinted with permissions from Graywolf Press.

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