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Yuliya Charnyshova

NELLE 6 | 2023

Admission-exam season came early this year.
Back in 2016, I failed Russian History. In 2022, it would fail me
harder and with more evident passion.

And you tremble a bit in acknowledging
I take on a totally new personality when I select English.
Imagine how a much more spacious void of mismatch is there, in this tightness of body.
Well, not much. Alas, this void is tiny.

And the only notifications on my damn lock screen
(I live on the margins of switches between home screens and lock screens)
are of the money spent by you and me, the amount left
is melting in the sun of our tenderness. Mom’s not picking up phone for 5 days in a row,
not capable of articulating
the latest updates: the docs at the nearest vet station killed my dog,
a being with my name in his passport,
now lying under the what Americans call Christmas tree
at what we call dacha that we have to sell
and move far from that country of locks, never homes, that’s only good at manufacturing killing.

The temperature drops. Everyone freezes. I imitate knowing Ukrainian.
The Russians bomb us on my friends’ honest taxes. I can’t look at dogs.

The wedding was fabulous. The bride has collapsed
just in time for the cake to arrive. My flesh is 100% vegan.
Everyone found something familiar
in the drawer of their bed table once they arrived
to what recently could be called “their place.” Is she always this boring?

Keep the dogs far from me. Let us retake History.
Let History retake what is left of us. She’s usually
much worse.

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