by Ryan Dzelzkalns
This medication has come between me and my body
like a circle of bubbles directing my desire to the surface
in one living mouthful. My new night-friends dive and strain
the sea water against their teeth. My teeth have gone soft
in all my dreams; whatever I catch, I cannot kill.
It didn’t have to be this way, but there are scant alternatives
to history. They tell me I am beautiful and unzip my smile
down around my neck. I have become a barber pole of fangs,
famished, nipping at their fingers.
When the sun sets,
they use me as their coy piñata, all my insides roiling and blue.
The men, they press their batons against me and smile
through their blindfolds.
Published April 7th, 2019
Ryan Dzelzkalns has poems appearing with Assaracus, DIAGRAM, The Offing, The Shanghai Literary Review, Tin House, and others. He received an MFA from New York University and a BA from Macalester College where he was awarded the Wendy Parrish Poetry Prize. He has worked for the Academy of American Poets and is currently a Fulbright scholar in Tokyo. Read more at RyanDz.com
Arkhip Kuindzhi is considered one of the most talented Russian landscape painters of his generation. Born in Ukraine, he was associated during the second half of the 1870s with a group of Russian Realist painters known as the Wanderers. In the 1890s, he was hired to teach landscape painting at the Academy of Fine Arts but was later dismissed for sympathizing with student agitators. He ultimately founded his own painting society.