Three Poems
Marina Kaganova


The experiment set out to find how closely
skulls resembled watermelons at the moment

of cracking. Every other elephant had a human head
under its foot. The rest had watermelons.

The elephants were reluctant because they
were well-trained and usually lived

in the circus. You had the most impatient elephant.
Some of us caught splashes of blood.

The next elephant in line, despite wearing
horse-blinders, panicked, and put

his foot down as well. We caught splashes
of watermelon, though it was not ripe

and didn't taste very good. My turn never came.
Five skulls had been enough. Nobody ever sent me

the results, though I hear your family was
extravagantly compensated.

from Fall


air raid passes by
en route to the next
available set

of customers.
we are in tune.
old Armenian song

about lavash bread
hanging down from
a small child's forearms.

pulp them until they
swing like undone
braids. stay sanguine

through a blasted
head of somebody nearby.
these dreams I have

don't let them
get to me.


sodium nitrate,
the covered salt
in the midnight
of southamerica.

travel to the other
for this one, but avoid
traditional means.

announce yourself
to all apparitions,
even the ones that
come out of steam-
powered whistles.

bring me a souvenir.
put it in my palms
and help me grow
things from shadows.

Untitled (For S.E.)

See me on better
days when I can,
see me now and
the cattle goes
wild as I fall into
a new horror
which in itself
harms nothing,
but I do, I do so
and shoot my
dog. And I pick
up its body
and bury it
under the boys-
enberries. And for
a while there I
don't hear a thing.