Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now
was breaking air waves the year I was made. But not in Odessa, through a white barred window,
a tenement with floors made of the cleanest dirt that side of the Black Sea.
Dora wasn't home. Who knows where a woman that age goes when she goes?
Pulling potatoes, diamonds, out the new paved road?
Breaking thermometers over mortars to cast her curing spell? A shmear to burn
the blossom, a mushroom
from a man's thigh. What she did she did alone. Let them say we're crazy, I don't care about that.
It was Dora gave her daughter permission, a privacy
owed a woman in her thirties. Put your arms around me, baby never look back. And it was not love.
And it was not beautiful. Not a fig bursting
in the seeded cavern of her mouth. Not the quenching of a thousand fires
old as her name, Tamar, warrior queen, thrice blessed. It was
sex, simple, black bread and butter. She was a woman who needed a man
she could trust her son with.
My father: Invalid of the First Degree.
Let the world around us just fall apart.
And what was left of youth stayed tucked behind them
in the old wood, starched and blued
like a school shirt made to last from sibling to sibling. And if this world runs out of lovers
we'll still have each other.
On the velour couch, Tamara remembers:
Boris on blood thinners and me at my age?
Year you were born, they said 90% chance your baby will be a monster.
Your father said Whatever comes is ours.
by Gala Mukomolova
Gala Mukomolova received her MFA from the Helen Zell Writers' Program. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in a variety of journals/sites including the Indiana Review, Drunken Boat, and PANK. She has resided at the Vermont Studio Center, the Pink Door Retreat, and Six Points Fellowship: ASYLUM International Jewish Artist Retreat. Nowadays, she impersonates an astrologer for The Hairpin and practices slicing deli meat as thin as she can.