The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Sonya Vatomsky’s “My Heart in Aspic”



The recipe called for murder; I did not misread it:
6 SPRIGS FRESH DILL, as much SALT as you can stand,
and take a KNIFE to the one that failed you. 1 WHOLE POTATO,
1 WHOLE CARROT. You will not be cold this winter, you will not.
Locate the JOINT, move the BONE back and forth; it can be
hard to find the ARTICULATION POINT with the sobs still lodged
in your throat like fish bones. Chop the DILL into fine green shards;
they are the forest you bury him in. They are the fog
on the fallen leaves on the wet snow on the soil. They are
the wood frog and the arctic lamprey and the brown bear
leaving trails in the opposite direction. Use your KNIFE to TRIM
excess FAT, REMOVE the BONE with minimal damage
to the meat, turn his memory to the grounds that sit
at the bottom of your porcelain cup painted in wild strawberries:
a fortune teller’s ephemera. Use the tip of your KNIFE— not the blade,
lest he leave rings on you like an aging tree — in short
flicking motions. REMOVE the BONE with minimal damage
to the meat. As much SALT as you can stand, rubbed the way you’d rub
an ache until it gives in beneath you. Little peat bog, little бог,
little God. Ivan the Fool slept
on an oven and so will you.

This selection comes from Sonya Vatomsky’s chapbook My Heart in Aspic, available now from Porkbelly Press. Purchase your copy here!

Sonya Vatomsky is a Moscow-born, Seattle-raised feminist poetess ghost. She is the author of Salt is for Curing (Sator Press, fall 2015) and chapbook My Heart in Aspic (Porkbelly Press), and is a poetry editor at Fruita Pulp. Find her by saying her name five times in front of a bathroom mirror or at

Ben McClendon is a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Tennessee. He previously studied poetry at Northern Arizona University after teaching high school English for several years. His poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Yemassee, Chautauqua, Redivider, Rattle, Word Riot, and elsewhere. Ben lives with his husband in Knoxville.


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