You’ve forgotten Gornostaypol

and our cottage by the river.

You pass time by counting souls

trapped within the spillage pools:

they’d wither like jellyfish in the sun

should they ever leave, you tell me.


Can you see how green shoots have thickened

the old forest with new life? Ivy and brambles

now flesh out the legs of rusting pylons.

Yesterday I heard Paganini in the trees,

as branches fluttered against overhead cables,

leaves bristled to an applause.


Watch me lift my face to the razor

each morning, to rinse and rinse anew,

the water spiralling about my ears

like an orchestra. Let’s prepare our home

for guests: vases of wildflowers on windowsills,

candles at each end of the piano.


Oil slaps the sides of your buckets

and you strain the water until it runs clear.

It tastes sweet as well-water from the village

where my father mined. At the end of each shift,

he made his way through the earth

clawing at light as he abandoned the dark.




*Slavic female given name, meaning ‘hope.’ Popular in Russia, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine.

Second Prize, Inspired by Film Competition