​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

sonya vatomsky

Coq au vin

​I make a thick paste from the bones 
of a phoenix, half a bruised yellow onion. Hold my
head over the steam in my nostrils, feet aching
I’m opening my skin for you, folding it down and around
Rolling out my skin for you, wrapping it like crust to
warm your bones as you rise to breathe my breath
A phoenix’s bones; I’m spreading skin thin on a slab and
you yawn. Cooking -- it takes too long. A woman -- 
she takes too long. I’ve been accused of loving before so
I’m undoing my skin for you, pressing the edges 
down around hard white stalks. You hissing like a teapot 
through American teeth, grabbing from behind, drinking
my wine and laughing too loudly, spilling, your very
breath takes up space I need for mine. I stir, I knead, I salt
I peel my skin off like lettuce leaves, press them wet against
your mouth to stop the ocean; let me talk, let me whisper
This is so you never rise
This is so you never rise
This is so you never rise

Moribund, Mope-bound

The potion had promised to bring your love; I did not ask how
A lonely woman has no luxuries -- you pay and you drink and
you count the days for hours. That night I walk hard to the chapel 
and hold the lighthouse keeper’s hands in mine. His tower looks out 
on your small boat bobbing madly in the green and I wait and watch 
the sun rise every morning and then lay down to die. Saturdays the 
market throbs with halved people, misplaced tourists with guidebooks
pointing as I kiss with everyone who remembers your name the way I do 
Your friends invite me to their dinners -- did you know? I arrive in black
A widow, holding cheap wine and anise candies to my breast, sleep with 
all of them and rub your brother’s feet when he’s drunk and howling at 
the moon like it too is something he’s lost. All day I sit still on your stairs
Mouth full of apples and bread and heart hoping for the sound of your
voice carried around the corner, held high on hot salty air like the kind
of lullaby a mother sings. Mothers trace long lines on a child’s face to
lay down paths for grieving tears and I walk these nightly now, map out 
my own grand canyon that you will never photograph and sometimes it’s 
ok. I watch your boat, bobbing madly in the green. You drink and you 
pay, the potion had promised -- I miss you like a knife in my throat.

Sonya Vatomsky is a Moscow-born, Seattle-raised poet and essayist. An introvert, she balances her time between being active in several (online and local) feminist communities and cooking elaborate five-course dinners for herself, alone, in the dark. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Delirious Hem, Entropy Magazine, The Hairpin, No Tokens Journal, Empath Lit, Electric Cereal, The Riveter Review, Potluck Magazine & Weird Sister; follow her at @coolniceghost.