a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
you’d do it anyway. Against your body, refuse
to drink and eat and wash, refuse to take the pills.
Refuse our hands. You’d sit there mumbling
in Yiddish, calling quietly for Him as though
he were your husband, Gotteniu tiyer, Gotteniu veis mir.
Call it love or prayer or madness, that language
between dead and living ghosts. Gotteniu.
Beloved. The words clung to your mouth,
your lips so dry that year we lied, I did it for you.
As an excuse to starve at first. To thin
closer to bone. To know how skin
wears us. The next year you were dead
and still I kept and keep on starving,
stretching out my hands to feel for ghosts,
for you and him and maybe Him.
Gotteniu. Ghost-God, Ghost-great thing
that ends or begins with father.
Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania where her research focuses on contemporary American poetry about the Holocaust. She has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf and TENT Conferences as well as the Auschwitz Jewish Center. Author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press, 2014), Julia’s recent poems appear in American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, and 32 Poems, among others. Her work has been selected for Best New Poets, the Williams Carlos Williams University Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and New South’s Poetry Prize. Julia is the Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine and when not busy chasing her toddler around the playgrounds of Philadelphia, she writes a blog about motherhood.