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A man and a woman in a bedroom & once

by Katerina Stoykova

A man and a woman in a bedroom

The woman lying in bed,

the man sitting by her,

rubbing her ankles and feet.

Nobody speaks.

She thinks about her trip,

he thinks about his work.

The spouses are together

in the same room,

which is rare.

His gaze wanders.

He reads out loud

titles of self-help books

scattered across the floor.

Healing your aloneness;

Inner Bonding;

Do I have to give up me

to be loved by you?

She has shut her eyes.

In a minute he’ll kiss her

goodnight and leave

for another room.

He had given her a cute

coupon for massage

of two body parts

and tonight

both were redeemed.


I bit into an apple аnd said,

He and I will be finished

by the time this apple rots.

I kept it at my desk;

the bitе marks curled

inwards, the white flesh

scabbed towards its softness.

This lasted days upon days.

Then I said to myself,

I want to save this apple,

so I locked it in the fridge.

Already the apple

was leaning

into its wound—head first

without a face

in its cold home, furrows

growing deeper.

From time to time

I’d pick up the apple

and assess.

It’s okay, I’d say.

It’s okay, considering.


Katerina Stoykova is a Bulgarian-American poet, living in Lexington, Kentucky. She writes poetry and prose in both English and Bulgarian. Her Bulgarian-language books have won three distinct national poetry awards. Katerina owns and operates Accent Publishing, an independent press publishing predominately poetry. She hosts Accents radio show for literature, art and culture on WRFL 88.1 FM. She co-wrote the narrative feature-length film Proud Citizen and acted in the lead role.


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