Saturday, 21 July 2018

Of Flesh, Not Stone

by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

Remember, you tried. Not that this is any
consolation. Even now, writing it
feels like the opposite. You’re referring
to distance. You tried to keep it
better than your mother or hers. Tried
to find the middle ground where his head
can meet your chest without being bound
or sinking. Where it can rest as flesh,
not stone. Tried to keep that place
where your hands reach without touch,
to be okay with the empty space between.
—you   water    you you water you       water you—
Remember the time you asked to kiss him
and he said, no mama! pushing your face away
with his hand’s heel and then his foot’s.
Remember how you listened. Let him choose
anything else over what he is made of.
—water   you water    you water water    water—
Remember? The bathtub was only half full
when he slipped and asked you to kiss
his soapy ear lobe so the pain would stop.
But it didn’t. Not really. Remember, you tried.

* * * * *

"Of Flesh, Not Stone" was previously published in Cleaver.

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research focuses on contemporary American poetry about the Holocaust. Julia is the author of The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press, 2014) and her recent poems appear in Best New PoetsAmerican Poetry Review, and Nashville Review, among others. She is also Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine ( and when not busy chasing her toddler around the playgrounds of Philadelphia, she writes a blog about motherhood (

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