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The trick to building houses was making sure

they didn’t taste good. The ocean’s culinary taste

was growing more sophisticated and occasionally

its appetite was unwieldy. It ate boats and children,

the occasional shoe. Pants. A diamond ring.

Hammers. It ate promises and rants. It snatched up

names like peanuts. We had a squadron of cooks

specifically catering to its needs. They stirred vats

of sandals and sunglasses. They peppered their soups

with pebbles and house keys. Quarts of bottled song

were used to sweeten the brew. Discussions between

preschool children and the poets were added

for nutritional value. These cooks took turns pulling

the cart to the mouth of the harbour. It would take four

of them to shoulder the vat over, tipping the peeled

promises, the baked dreams into its mouth.

And then the ocean would be calm. It would sleep. Our mistake

was thinking we were making it happy.


Sue Goyette

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Amelia M. Glaser and Yuliya Ilchuk

human warmth

translated from the Ukrainian written by
Halyna Kruk