“In Praise of Forgetting” by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach


Forget to turn off the lights and wash the dishes and empty the tub.

Forget the standing water and let it bring ghosts into the house.

Forget street numbers and front doors and languages of all the ones you’ve lived in before.

Forget the names you gave them once. How they were taken away.

Forget home is where the heart is. The heart can’t beat outside the body.

Forget the body. Theirs. Forget they are made of water. Standing.

Forget to lie down. And forget to sleep. It’s too quiet in these walls.

Forget the four walls and the hands it took to build them.

Forget hands. How it felt to press palm to ribcage to the stove.

Forget to light it.

Forget how the cold and blueless dark makes outlines of ghosts glow a harvest moon.

Forget the moon. It doesn’t belong here. Here ghosts are houses inside of houses.

from Rattle #59, Spring 2018
Tribute to Immigrant Poets

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Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach: “I emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, as a Jewish refugee when I was six years old. In third grade, I started writing poetry in English as a way of finding my way through a stranger’s language and culture, one that would soon become my home. In the former Soviet Union, my family and I were marked as Jewish. In the United States, we were marked as ‘foreign’ and ‘Russian’ and ‘immigrant.’ In my poems, I get to be the one who marks my own identity. For me, poetry is both an act of nostalgia and future making—a way of reaching back to a birthplace, childhood, and even language that is just out of reach, and at the same time, reaching forward to make room for this past in an uncertain future.” (web)

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