August 18th, 2014

Our poem of the week, “Heads & Tails,” comes from Volume 1, Issue 1 of burntdistrict. Carine Topal is a native New Yorker who writes and teaches in Los Angeles and the desert area. Her 3rd collection of poetry, In the Heaven of Never Before, was published in December 2008 by Moon Tide Press.

HEADS & TAILS
By Carine Topal

I will bury you – your husky giggle,
your gutterblood heart, your black iris,

its pupil, window to your circumsized life
beneath heaps of cobblestone we walked

near December street, cobble by cobble laid down
by peasants, prisoners, and Finns.

Bury you. I forget how I held you, there on the calendar
of marital moments, in the season of herring boats

and egrets, while the night sailed the slips of St. Petersburg.
Or I will throw you off the bridge of the four bronze horsemen

into a large Russian emptiness. What I never named,
what you left unspoken, I swallowed whole, watched,

as you sailed down the Rekoi Neva, past the glorious summer
palace, its gaudy turrets sparkling in the distance.

It was sunset, when the nets you wouldn’t live to see, came out,
spilling the near dead hip-deep to the fisherman,

heads and tails flapping. And there was spawning somewhere.
Somewhere other than where we were.


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