Late Fall by Inna Mosina
An Apartment’s AnatomyWhen at last the counter-top melts away beneath us and we pitch and parry
on a blowing brim of wind that the ceiling fan has unleashed
around us in waves
the kitchen sink will sigh and the hail on the windowsill will murmur us
back to the birds we were
the night-time nest-builders
who perch and wait, whose mother-songs are drawing them up hoarse and hoary
in their stick-figure homes.
In cities birds have learned to line
their nests with cigarette butts which ward off parasites, burnt nicotine an insecticide
to murder the fleas, lice, mites.
Our skin still feels the same
it bows beneath fingertips and when you comb my hair, strands fall and blanket the edges of the
room like they want to keep us warm
we crouch beneath the swaying soot of a city, we peer over the windowsill and watch the frosted
roads reach our window with fingers of blue salt and a
stench of severance
I tuck a potato peeler into my pocket and wait and wait to lick the skin off of
your face, to see the map of muscles twitching beneath
hooked up and displayed with no butcher to cleave it.
I wonder where I learned such sleight of hand- there was not always this kernel lodged between
my beating ribs
this uncertain huddle of tremoring twigs that waits for the first moment of fear
we built a home once of smooth planes and the spaces in between where our teeth scrape, our
breaths whistle, and the din of jaybirds and tired neon signs meets to make a menace
of the morning light on the tiled floors
now I line our kitchen with snapping springs, rat poison, and the feathers I used to wear in my
hair. My pocket is still bulging, when will you notice the shudder, the sharpness, the noise
I have invited inside.