A Poem by Marcela Sulak

Marcela Sulak

Marcela Sulak

Marcela Sulak’s most recent collection of poetry is Decency (Black Lawrence Press, 2015). Her nonfiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Rattle. She’s translated four collections of poetry from the Czech, French and Hebrew, and is the co-editor for the 2015 Rose Metal Press title Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Genres. Sulak hosts the TLV.1 Radio podcast “Israel in Translation,” edits The Ilanot Review and directs the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University.

Theories of Time in the Novel: A November Tale

In the morning a leaf is missing,
the hair of a stray dog flutters
on the barbed-­wire fence.

Night fades to day and day grows dark,
your fingerprints slide from my body.
Cups collect in the kitchen sink,

the year has started to shed its sun.
Your body does not drop,
the hole that fills with dirt

is not for your body.
It is for the immigrant
who dumped me here. You are on a train

to Vienna, riding tracks of ink.
You do not even know
where you are going, you think

you are leaving. You will hear
floorboards creaking over there
under love on the stairs

behind certain doors. That is us.
You will hear the floorboards creaking goodbye.
It is a night that takes away tomorrow.

The morning station fills with smoke,
with the tick of diabetic feet, the click
of a falling arm. Then the flashing lights

of rail road crossings
sugaring the blood. I was wrong.
The hole, it is for your body.

There is prairie grass surrounding it
stitching its edges closed.
Sometimes the sky twitches.

The air is torn by wire.
How many nights till that possession
alone with her joints knotted up she’d wait.

She finally told him to go ahead
and die. She used to be my grandmother
and now she is probably the I. One day she

will be the you because
we’ve been reading too long
aloud until the baby grew up

and then silently. Must it
have taken. Filled
her mouth then he left.

I used to imagine him making love
on every staircase, behind every door,
every time the 3 am train, Which

one of us do I mean this night
that takes away tomorrow,
our cries blowing through your empty clothes

as you enter a certain street—
the one with my immigrant's dance hall,
the one with my family pub.

You don't know how often you will kiss me
each time you open your mouth in the dust
that rushes to your tongue.