Dear Masha (to the one I once called Peanut):

Have you eaten today? I doubt
you’d answer. Still, I ask, hoping you open
your mouth, that this letter reminds you
how I peeled grapefruit on my bedspread,
and you pecked, in the way of your fascination
with birds and the daintier things, the fruit’s
pink flesh right out of my palms, admiring
the thinness of my wrists. You said my hands
would forever carry the scent, bitterly
citrus, remember? Can you still smell them
across three thousand miles and three years
of not speaking since I started eating again?
It hasn’t been easy you know, to let myself
feel hunger, to feed it the way we never did,
to linger in the taste of peanut butter, recalling
the flavor, yours: the first time I felt another’s
tongue in my mouth, the desire to swallow it
whole, (restraint was it?) to keep from biting down,
and your collarbone, so worn, it stunned me:
your mouth then, was all I ate for days.

Replete now, would you still touch, still recognize
this body? Even at rest, your fingers softly pressed
would fall, would fold into hips and stomach,
unable to find the bones we were so fond of
reaching down to once. What would you make
of all this flesh? No need my dear, stay hollow
as you’ve been, and I will bear its weight for you,
but if you ever come, I’ll show you where
I’ve grown, show too where there is room
for you to perch, or even build your nest,
though knowing you, you’ll only leave a plume
against my chest, then fly away, starving and weightless:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++iyour mouth, open.

Julia Kolchinsky DasbachJulia 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 Green Mountains Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Guernica, and Nashville Review, among other journals. Her manuscript, The Bear Who Ate the Stars, won Split Lip Magazine‘s Uppercut Chapbook Award, and can be purchased from Split Lip Press. Julia is also the Editor-in-Chief of Construction Magazine. Find out more by visiting her website.