2 Poems | Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

Mother’s Etude  

Allegro, adagio, allegretto – the body
makes its own music, allargando,

into and out of itself, growing.
On the stomach, an arpeggio of fingers

lingering a little, feels vivace
in the slopes and rises, vivo

where there is light learning
how to breathe, where there is

darkness underneath. Because
there is always more. Because

water. But even ever-flowing,
like flesh, it moves on. And when

heavy, traversing space
from sonic to sterile room

like wandering through legatos
of lemons trees, the belly turns

to softening fruit sinking low
from unsung branches. Allegro,

a woman, adagio, her body, hollowing
like Koa wood or an Akoya shell,

lento, floating between her melody
and another’s, waiting to touch

what is and is not herself.
Like remembering what it was

to hear for the first time –
she is mother: sempre allargando.

Tides of Svetovid

At first, it moved
inside me, like
a growing wave –

What, will you
name me when
I breathe?

Like weeds
eating up water, it made
thicknesses gather.

Will you let in
light to help
me grow?

Slipping, it clung
to my walls, like
a shell-less red snail.

How can I
hold on, if you
won’t give me hands?

I let it live –
a barnacle, inside
the belly of this whale.

If I stay quiet
and still, teach me
how to swim?

Then, it didn’t move
for days, like something
intent on leaving roots.

The ocean came again,
this time, red currents
of heat, outside.

Where does this flood end?

I hold my breathing.

Let it start – the wave
inside me, like a heartbeat.

When will you come for me again?

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated as a Jewish refugee from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine in 1993. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is currently working on her Ph.D. in the University of Pennsylvania’s Comparative Literature program. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Crab Orchard Review and Guernica, among others journals. She is the author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press, 2014)winner of Split Lip Magazine‘s Uppercut Chapbook Award. Julia is also the Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine. Learn more by visiting her website.


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