NATALIE LYALIN


Natalie Lyalin lives in a small white house in Northampton, MA. Her
work has appeared in Skein, Haydenís Ferry Review, La Petite Zine,
and Coconut. Some poems are forthcoming in Octopus. She is the
co-editor of Glitterpony Magazine.






There are Four Chambers of the Heart

There are four chambers of the heart, but only one holds a bent toothpick. One keeps
the careful excavation of a mammoth and tusks the tiny pants I peed in a leftover bruise. Between the four of them, there are two secrets, and three ways for saying leafy webbings. The third chamber is the keeper of light and old school uniforms, also my apron and a busted lip. The fourth chamber is for unrepeatable things my father said a camel with three bullet holes a crushed pewter ball a dead rabbit I sent my father to find.

There were two excavated mammoth tusks. Inside her mouth they found
a pewter ball and a baby camel with three bullet holes. Also sand, and a delicate wrist
watch. The mammoth froze with her front right leg raised. The cold moved so quickly then. She never touched the ground again. Only peed into her tiny pants and soiled her apron.

There were three things I sent my father to find. Appendicitis and a brief hospital stay. The dead rabbit. It only reached the lawn after my father placed it there. I had sent him for the baby rabbit. It was too light for my fingers, but with my father it took on an unnatural weight.

There is one thing my father said. I could hear it because he said it so loudly. I thought of the immigration officers. I wanted to tell them, we do not need a country. We can destroy ourselves here.








Sverdlovsk Institute Optimization Theory

Construction work and chocolate butter, maybe some sweater modeling, or a kitten of some sorts, and the place rings so loud at night, and everyone is happy to be there and you like it, and you want to buy some candy, and you put on all of your jewelry at once and wear a revealing shirt, and roller skates, and no one thinks you are cool, and you talk to a baby about not having friends, and she doesn't care because she's a baby, and the neighbor talks about G-d, and you like it, and you like all the skin colors and pretending to be good at sports, and your neighbor invites you over to sing about portable hand grenades, and your dad wears a giant top hat and your grandma wears a Choctaw headdress, and itís crazy but it really happened, and it felt like something sat down and died, but you found it had a treasure in its pocket, and you took it because that's what it wanted, and then the music came on and you felt good about yourself, and the world, and your teeth were crooked, and your nose was getting ready, and you had no idea that you were something, that something mattered, and that it was all happening and it was so beautiful that it could have rained in a slow motion but you remember your first desk, it was December, and the wood was so cold but you sat in it anyway, and later a someone fat would jump on you, and it was pain like something, and you wanted to talk about it in a cup made for crying in America.








Decorating Committee

They carried knives that day and a theme was chosen.
The science club, their thermometers.
There is a theory that they knew what was knocking.
There is a theory that Robert, who sustained the first touch,
saw the microscope tremble.
Imagine the double doors and Robert.
There are a million and one uses for the glass beaker case.

Look at the way it bisects Susan.
Thank you for showing them the universe,
Dr. Putnam, your tie has never looked more appropriate,
peaking out through your back.

(Dr. Putnam wept openly in his office.
The science club was working on a new theory.
The theory stated that the atom was actually
a fragment of time, most likely two weeks ago,
crystallized, detached, and floating.)



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