The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach’s “The Bear Who Ate the Stars”


This Is Where I Keep You

I want to make love to you
in a crowded room with staring headlights
that look like wedding flowers

and tie you up with my hair
between the blinds’ shadows
that look like grey skeleton handprints.

I want to walk with you
up and down the balustrade of our balcony
that smells like blood from Russian bricks

and hold your hand inside my ribcage
where it makes my heart move
and smell like a water birth.

Why do we hurt each other
with dull words and sharpened nails
that taste like rubbing alcohol

and then sooth the wounds
with wet bodies and swollen mouths
that taste like yesterday?

Why do we fight about the seasons
before they have a chance to change
and sound like a funeral procession?

Why can’t we ever just watch green leaves
against the windows as they catch on fire
and sound like us breathing before sleep?

You take my face in your hands
after I’ve squeezed it dry and colorless
like the coarse bark of a fallen tree

because your skin is always moist
along my eyebrow, and pressing hard
like a rutted oyster keeping safe his pearl.

You think we look more beautiful
when wrapped in water and eyes
like the silk of a peacock’s dappled tail

because then there’s no place
for me to hide and wither
like the grains of a desert mirage.

When alone, I’ll drink the sand,
or will you fill my ribcage full?

This selection comes from Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach’s chapbook The Bear Who Ate the Stars, available from Split Lip Press. Purchase your copy here!

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 in the University of Pennsylvania’s Comparative Literature Ph.D. program. Julia’s poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Southern Humanities ReviewGreen Mountains Review, Tupelo QuarterlyGuernica, and Nashville Review, among others journals. Her manuscript, The Bear Who Ate the Stars, won of Split Lip Magazine‘s Uppercut Chapbook Award, and can be purchased from Split Lip Press. Most recently, she won Burlington Book Festival Short Works Writing Contest and Spark: A Creative Anthology’s writing contest. Julia is also the Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine. Find out more by visiting her website.

Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of the chapbooks When I Was a Girl (Sundress Publications) and Nothing But Candy (Liquid Paper Press). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Booth, The Emerson Review, Harpur Palate, Moon City Review, Stirring, and Whiskey Island, among others. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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