My Grandmother Loses Her Hair by Lana Rakhman

In the pit of this room she sits:
Leningrad babies,
crumbling hair,
an old iron stove
with grease marks
and chicken feathers.

She breathes
out the smells of the city
in which she was born:
poppyseed cakes
cheap liquor,
alabaster.

Years in this new country
but not a note
of English;
a mother and sister
buried half-alive;
old picture frames talk
in the language of soldiers,
in the attic a quiet starvation.

She bought a new blouse,
did her make-up,
then took it all off
with heavy arms,
swollen fingers,
cold toes from too much sugar.
She warns me that
evil is always pretty.

Her heart has four stitches
where the new veins are,
but no one took out
the root of the problem.
She hit her head on the fridge
and cries,
like a child with no mother,
or a mother with no child,
she cannot remember.

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4 Responses to “My Grandmother Loses Her Hair by Lana Rakhman”

  1. Lana is currently completing her MFA at Northwestern university. She has assistant taught creative writing courses at Roosevelt University, guest lectured in poetry workshops, and is the assistant editor of the literary journal TriQuarterly. She was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and cannot ride a bike

  2. Donal Mahoney Says:

    It is wonderful to read a poem this good on Rusty Truck. We are fortunate that Lana Rakhman did not give it to TriQuarterly, a terrific print publication, instead. She should not worry about whether she can ride a bike. She should just keep writing and every once in awhile send a piece to Rusty Truck or Deuce Coupe where an online audience can appreciate her work.

  3. just beautiful!

  4. This is wonderful work – Thank you.

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