Snow glints and softens
a pig’s slaughter.
Mama refuses another
agrees to another drink.
On the wall—a carpet with peonies,
their purple mouths
suck me into sleep.
I’ve been bedded.
from across the wall,
Mama says no-no-no
to more drink.
My bed smells of valenky.
Without taking its eyes off me
licks its gray paw as if sharpening a knife.
Mama yells yes to another drink.
Mama’s breasts are too big to fit into packed morning buses.
I would grow into a real person.
But on a certain day
is slaughtered, mama whispers yes
yes yes yes
to more drink,
I’m vanishing into the peonies’ throats,
peonies smell of valenky,
of pig’s blood
on the snow.
Clock’s hands leave a strange ski track.
Copyright © 2020 by Valzhyna Mort, Music for the Dead and Resurrected, Farrar, Straus and Giroux