Header artwork by Sugar Smallhouse

marina blitshteyn


            after hemingway

there's nothing
to it. i write
the truest thing i ever knew.
like clockwork each ping
of a key rings true.
clicks in. one month
it went for weeks, on
and off, a leaky
faucet. another
it only trickled out.
i hid it from my mother.
the first time it happened
i learned shame,
read it in the women's eyes.
i learned avoidance
from my father, who let
me sit on his lap before.
by now i've prayed so long
that it keeps coming,
rusting the toilet bowl.
i've prayed for mercy
and i have it. and now
i want that accident.
i want to know what it's like
to have my guts pulled out.
i'm playing with fire.
see men only tease
those bulls, or ride them
like little masters.
women see their insides
all the time and it's alright.


everything's coming up roses          a bowl full of berries

that stain on the page       proof positive orange

a spoof of a life          a stall to be occupied

a test to be taken and tossed right out

everything's out damn spot guilt-ridden

a contest of who's on first to blame

even this screen here frying my sockets

even my mother's clean sheets to soil

what a mess      the artist        her choices

when she was a girl that fear kept her up

she hid it in pockets      that bent out of shape

an eye for an i        a trough of o's

when u          were a kid you just knew     some day

you'd mother another    filled the right spreadsheets

x'ed on a map and hunted it       the artist kept

mostly to herself    and away from spoiled lions

what a palette to tarnish   a polish with no sheen

a testament to no court       who's counting

the evening is green      it's a still life   a skill

to populate this world with beauty      she knows

she's been trying       you've got   to believe me

doctor   she knows what     she's doing


Marina Blitshteyn is a Soviet-born poet and writer. She is the author of several chapbooks, including $kill$ (read 'skills') and Nothing Personal. Work can be found in Ghost Proposal, CutBank, 1913, Two Serious Ladies, The Brooklyn Poets Anthology and the &NOW 3 Anthology of Best Innovative Writing. Her first full-length collection, Two Hunters, will be published by Argos Books with a CLMP Face-Out grant. She works as an adjunct instructor.