Natalie Lyalin

Far Flung, Not in Exile

The dacha is there
but I will never find it
I would need mom to get us there
I could find the beach, with
the ‘beware of whale’ sign
Who knows what was there
other than sand, dark water
wild strawberries
the first aid clinic
the water pump
the outhouse
One summer a terrible sunburn,
mom smeared me with sour cream
and said an angry prayer
to the coast that touched the Bay of Finland
The house was slowly falling
shored up by the invisible
The whole summer held together
by a fire, the berries we picked
resting in buckets, the secret romances
that seeded, did not bloom
An old fashioned mourning
for absolutely nothing that is recreateable,
retraceable – they say it’s completely
different now with new homes and fences
The water still slinks into the bay for sure

Our Neighbor Died

Maybe he wasn’t even crazy

A friend and boyfriend

A male writer

The space the men say they need

Life is pretty amazing sometimes

How he tenderly pulled the bulbs

His sons exist

The chorus in the cave are our hearts

We don’t know who we are

We put all the kettles on

It’s sunrise somewhere

The end is always near

And where is Gd

Don’t listen to the artificial bells

That’s Gd hiding behind a grass blade

I’ll never have a daughter

The Pacific coast is green

Nice cars are just nicer

Kids are the best

My two loves, the Baltic and the Black Sea

Their waters at nights (are not cerulean)

How they don’t bother to get warm

Compare that with Dragon fruit

A photo of Nicole kissing an elephant, and then a tiger

The neighbor in a blue body bag at noon

The hottest winter on record

The neighbor seemed crazy

A person with undefined complaints

He had clear opinions

He liked to garden and had gray hair

The street braces for a nor’easter


Natalie Lyalin is the author of two books of poetry, Blood Makes Me Faint, But I Go For It (Ugly Duckling Presse 2014), and Pink & Hot Pink Habitat (Coconut Books 2009), as well as a chapbook, Try A Little Time Travel (Ugly Duckling Presse 2010). She is the co-editor of Natural History Press. She works in a progressive synagogue and lives in Philadelphia.