Thursday Nov 23

Dzvinia Orlowsky is the author of four poetry collections, including her most recent, Convertible Night, Flurry of Stones. Her first collection, A Handful of Bees, was recently reprinted as a Carnegie Mellon University Contemporary Classic. Dzvinia’s poetry and translations have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including A Map of Hope: An International Literary Anthology; From Three Worlds: New Writing from the Ukraine; and A Hundred Years of Youth:  A Bilingual Anthology of 20th Century Ukrainian Poetry. Her translation from the Ukrainian of Alexander Dovzhenko's novella, The Enchanted Desna, was published by House Between Water press in 2006. A founding editor of New York-based Four Way Books, Dzvinia currently serves as core faculty of poetry at the Solstice Low-Residency MFA Program of Creative Writing of Pine Manor College. 
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Advent Calendar
 
1.
 
It doesn’t matter how you’re dressed.
Open that first door.
 
There it is -- a candy cane!
Sorry.
 
You expected something better?
 Sacred as a star
 
calling back to you.
 
2.
 
Open the next days’ door --
 
a squirrel clutching a nut
like a bomb.
 
3.
 
Try another —
 
a one-winged
wind-saturated dinner goose
 
to keep you curious
and hungry in this life.
 
4.
 
Savoring each easy-
 
pull gold tassel,
open the next-to-last door.
 
Bingo:
black-velvet clad party children,
a nutcracker’s open mouth
 
empty as a yard sale   
play set kitchen shelf.
 
 
5.
 
The last door, admit it,
you also rushed ahead to open:
 
There: the ready manger,
 
Three wise men – done, past themselves,
weightless as embers of music.
 
 
 
To See a Horse
 
            …in human flesh, descending on a hammock through the air, and as it nears your  
            house is metamorphosed into a man, and he approaches your door and throws          
            something at you which seems to be rubber but turns into great bees, denotes     
            miscarriage of hopes and useless endeavors…
                                                                           (Dictionary of Dreams, Gustavas Hindman Miller)
 
            Its forelock she’d mistaken
                        for a flaring match
                                    then rising from a hayfield
 
            his shape eclipsing the sun
                        shovel in his hand She’d
                                    released a swarm of bees
 
            each time she opened
                        her mouth certain
                                    they were words
 
            Night after night
                        he strikes her in the face
                                    but she will not leave him
 
            thick netting settling
                        across her lap
                                    He strikes her legs
 
            she will not complain about him
                        No frustrations or loss of hope
                                    as long as the shovel doesn’t break
 
            Awake now in her family’s basement
                        she gently rubs his honey bathrobe
                                    against her face
 
            light smell of shower
                        water soap
                                    She only remembers circles of snow
 
            blowing upward as if retreating 
                        to sky his slow
                                    walking toward her
  
            now standing on the rug
                        where underneath he’d scarred
                                    with a pocket knife their names
 
            the wood given in to promise
                        how that night he called her mouse
                                    my mouse, of all things,
 
            and she said yes.
 
 
 
 Wish
 
He even tried it once--throwing his legs over his head in a kind of weird yoga tree pose, doing his best to enact his wish of going down on himself. I, impressed, thanked him for telling me something so cutting edge, for having the balls to be so honest. There’s more, he said, moving closer to me on the porch swing. He’d been considering cutting a hole in melon and fucking it--as a joke, just to blow the minds of the town’s college professors and interdisciplinary majors away--something about performance-body-art. I listened carefully, my legs folded under me, naked under my loose Batik dress, an orchid tucked behind my ear never thinking by the end of August I’d lie in a sunlit grass field for him, summer humming hungry and open around us. I’d be his muse. I never thought he’d leave me for the blonde one-car garage band guitarist who’d leave him for a short-tempered water-colorist, never thinking, twenty years later, at the dinner table, turning my head from my husband, quietly spitting watermelon seeds into my cupped hand, black and slippery, one sticking to my lip, I’d want so badly to phone him, hear him try to guess who it was on the other end of the line--me, the muse he swore on his life he’d never forget--feel his whole body straining into his tongue’s tip, coming up just a few inches short.