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by Tatiana Retivov

At first

There were cooties


on the cuffs

of your raincoat,

in your hair

which you cut off

to spite

to resist

the temptation to run

your fingers

through it non-stop.

Gloved you were

caught stroking

the harbinger

by your side

while he read

out loud

the pathology report.

Later, unbound, you did not let yourself be astounded too much.

(Ardor, is there enough ardor in your life, or is it conspicuously absent?)

Why, derailed by time and arthritis,

your limbs

are like the pillars

of an ancient ruin.

Yet there is a kind of nefarious joy

to be found

in the insatiable hunger

of chickadees


their feeder

full of sunflower

seeds from last summer.


Tatiana Retivov received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Michigan. She has lived in Kyiv, Ukraine since 1994, where she runs an Art & Literature Salon and a small publishing press,, that publishes prose, poetry, and nonfiction in Ukraine.


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