Four Poems | Margarita Serafimova

Image: Paweł Czerwiński


The Witnesses

We were observing ourselves colliding
with ourselves as if in a dream,
as if on a king’s road,
with horses, with dogs, with spears,
the air tinted in red,
the age-old branches between us and the hidden stars.
We were keeping a record of proceedings.


Underneath the skin, upon which the devastating battle for tenderness
is being played out,
there is a cocoon.
In a cocoon of blood,
I am bathing –
a red egg,
a red butterfly –
in full safety
behind the curtains of the bloodfall.


Yes, I brought my shield down.
My breasts were bared, elongated.
Around my ankles, there was dust.


The roads wept.
I gave them my eyes.


Margarita Serafimova is the winner of the 2020 Tony Quagliano/ Hawai’i Council for the Humanities International Poetry Award, a 2020 Pushcart nominee and a finalist in nine other U.S. and international poetry contests. She has four collections in Bulgarian and a chapbook, “A Surgery of A Star” (Staring Problem Press, CA: https://bit.ly/3jDU793). Her digital chapbook, ‘Еn-tîm’ (Wilderness), is forthcoming by the San Francisco University Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange in 2021. A full-length collection, ‘A White Boat and Foam’, is to be published by Interstellar Flight Press in 2022. Her work appears widely, including at Nashville Review, LIT, Agenda Poetry, Poetry South, Botticelli, London Grip, Steam Ticket, Waxwing, A-Minor, Trafika Europe, Noble/ Gas, Obra/ Artifact, Great Weather for Media, Origins, Nixes Mate. Visit: shorturl.at/dgpzC.

four hybrids – howie good

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Miss Plum in the Bedroom with the Candlestick

Crime was common back then, and the law itself often criminal. Nobody was safe from the thugs prowling the city. It took a constant and wearying vigilance to survive. If I happened to fall asleep, I’d wake up afraid. I think I was afraid she wouldn’t be there, peering out through a crack in the curtains. Why you here? I asked the first time she appeared. She just gave a fuzzy, fragile smile. The ambiguity was intentional. When you leave details out, it opens up possibilities for what can be – an ancient tree whose entwined branches support 34 brilliant candles.

Shredded

Private lives are now lived in public. That’s the problem with putting Velveeta on enchiladas. It’s only a matter of time before the celebrity chefs start to show up. I pedal away as if I have to actually get somewhere. Everyone I owe an explanation tries following me – sons, daughters, parents, co-workers, etc. We’re a wandering soap opera. “You can’t paint them trees,” protesters yell from the sidewalk. I just want some semblance of normality back in my life, some sort of quiet, and my heart to stop agonizing like a flock of gulls being sucked into a jet engine.

Shadowlands

When you look back over your shoulder, you see yourself looking quizzically back at you. You always assumed that you’d been given up for adoption. Now, more than 35 years later, you know. It’s night, and everything is also nothing, the dark howls and whimpers of women in search of their shadows.

The Later Years

Given a choice, I would want to be the sort of shrewd, goatish old man it’s said Rodin was, strolling about the boulevards and back alleys of Paris, while the work in marble went on nevertheless in his head and a young Russian-born French lady leaned lightly on his arm, and if her eyes were a little too wide apart, or if she didn’t actually read any of the books he recommended, he wouldn’t care, because it had just turned spring, and the air was like a mix of wine and brandy, and they were always at least somewhat drunk.

sbgs cowskull

Howie Good, Ph.D., a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry, among other books. He co-edits the literary journals UnLost and Unbroken with Dale Wisely.

Photo: @sweetdangerzack

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