Gala Mukomolova

Durak / дурак

Again I fold my hand on the hard drum of your belly
                          You laugh, you almost let me win.
 King of Fools, first time I saw the Atlantic I was five
and on your shoulders.
                   A wave bucked and swallowed us–a salty mouth. 

Your hands, two fleshy spades and ocean silt.
Coney Island sky, a pink wail above us,
                                                        you pressing me to you.

Truth is, we were better with equations. Yellow kitchen mornings
at the breakfast table
                           добрый утро                        six times eight
                          хороший завтрак                 ten times twelve

Tying my shoe, jogging the boardwalk beside you, seven times two.

                                              I was a special brand of preteen ugly.
Your dream gift:                    a velveteen jumpsuit, something shiny
                                              Reebok related.

Mama says the way you loved me was impossible. We swam past the buoys
my last dream:
                                   slick, strong, aquatic. Hydraulic pump heart.
                                   You were new again, ageless, my father.

I wanted to give you back everything you lost, each chess match, Durak game
                                                               each daughter that came before me.
подкидной Six cards each. One trump suit. Put something down for me.

Your strongest go first, the heart gets the spade, so I am ready
so I am the fool. When we enter the water

it is you on my shoulders.
                                         The wave comes and knocks you
                                                                                              from me.

Gala Mukomolova

Gala Mukomolova is the descendent of a Black Sea witch. When she's reading her poems, she's putting a spell on you. Gala learned the art of a good show from the barkers of Coney Island. She's marshaled the Mermaid Parade, expanded walls at Studio Museum in Harlem, and imitated a social worker in Portland, OR. Now that she's completed her MFA (at U of M Helen Zell Writer's Program), Gala spends her time living the dream and examining the market value of feelings.

Photo credit: Bona Weiss