hand in hand
with the confidence of an excellent grade
on a report card.
Out of the corner of their eyes
they might see the beach,
a boy hiding behind a slice of watermelon –
his ancient red fortress.
Preoccupied, he peers through the pit holes
waiting for his enemy to approach.
His enormous mother reads a list of passengers from the crashed airplane,
how their blood went up
like a boiling thermometer
and horror no longer had a signifier.
Under her sweaty palms, the print blurs,
turning into black body bags
arranged on the page.
Hand in hand
they stand in Sochi in 1982.
She thinks to herself:
my Lifeline is not on the palm of my hand,
but bent slightly in the knee,
it’s my leg lifted over my man’s body.
How natural it is for a Lifeline
to start where a leg does.
Between the shots, in her mind’s eye
she considers the line’s length,
and smiles into the camera with relief –
for her legs are long.
On the beach
the watermelon fortress
blood invisible on its red bricks.
Copyright © 2011 Valzhyna Mort
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.