Mother always knows, so by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach


I tell her, my jaw came apart, but first there was the cracking
like strikes and strikes of lightning      but there was no light
She asks if I saw blood              No, I answer, having to recall
the naked gum line           where my teeth like even rows,
flowerless pots    cracked      and cracked again
She says, it means someone is going to die          someone not close to you
blood would signify closeness, she adds                          and I wonder
how to calculate proximity, the pace of death         its touch based on a lack
a reach we cannot hold                  based on this dream
based on my mother          how death can come on fast
a lightening strike, so bright and far away    you have to wait to hear it
crack the air                    wait for it to pin the soul
wait for ground or its jawline          for someone’s
toothless grin to shine               and fall                    out of the bloodless sky



Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated as a Jewish refugee from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine in 1993. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is in the University of Pennsylvania’s Comparative Literature Ph.D. program. Julia’s poetry has appeared in Guernica, Nashville Review, and Consequence Magazine, among others journals. Julia’s manuscript The Bear Who Ate the Stars has been selected as the winner of Split Lip Magazine’s Uppercut Chapbook Award, and is forthcoming from Split Lip Press later this year.