On the floor of tiny store front in Park Slope that sells bottled breast oil and loose feathers, I surrendered to breath pattern Bones gave—rhythmic ritual, like giving birth. No, I've never birthed, I've held—room and woman bearing down, braced in doorway, new life sliding from her to floor—there were bodies to all sides of me, chanting come-come-come as crown emerged, now this
Holotropic surrender. I returned to black place, lacuna where all language sings like boat going down. All immigrant children are boats surrendered to water, turning and turning in the widening gyre. Before God of Libraries, on stacks wobbly, we prayed, slipped under cloaks of English texts burdened, all through night our faces flashing Encarta the carriage held but just Ourselves—And Immortality. Tucked snuggly under ten babki, loose carbon slips pressed upon, imprinted, stripped
of articles, consonants obstruct breath, vowels collect it. Colonizer antonym for immigrant, see also: citizen, native, primordial, buddy. Buddy buddy. Coming to America. Buddy body. Bones said scream and bodies screamed. Colonizers carry cadence of their parents. I sound like no one I slough off Coney Island youth when I'm with you—to avoid appearance of imitation I imitate what you call speech white what is it it eta eta—Дырка, Дура—hard to say together, finger the tear feeling for grammar. Voice to text sentence, with head at footboard lies in bed. Alina says even in Russia Russian bastardized repression is wild wow we're doing fine sideways. She says Шлюха is slut, Liza says Шалава
stupid person is Дебил, many Дебилы—male grammatically but use it for any body. Liza says Anna Wintour wrote perseverance is most important quality, I try to live by that. Liza says not all white men are monsters, but every time I come across monster. . . Liza says when I find out how to say fingering, write back. Need to be better shalava. Haha. Xaxa. The H leans over, tired.
On the ground my hands cramped with too much breath. Rabbi digging dirt over papa's grave with bare hands. Rabbi pouring dirt into my palms. Rabbi wants me to want forgiveness. Belly of my baby-self pressed to papa's convex cave stomach, transference of pain. Mama says пузо-mogn. Ukrainian-Yiddish. Forbidden from. Her parents spoke Yiddish only to each other; inheritance of separation. Mama cries to Klezmer, magnets old white rabbis to refrigerator. Strange American men I think when I see their grey ringlets and tzitzit peaking beneath plastic bananas, remember roaming hands of last landlord, camp counselors, Torah study I refused to return after hearing story of Adam and Eve. I knew enough to never, I bounced
I Lilithed through sediment, working wet earth, tunneling mad hard. Such pain, my mother says, pieces fall from me. Little boat, slick as wet body, docking dark island. When you were small, you'd point at ground, say копать. Hands burning in breathing room, hands рыт earth. Girl unburies herself, finger worming her dirt mouth, making way for vowels, avowals. I said I am a sorry. I sorry.