two poems

by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

Week 7: Blueberry

the Earth has two hidden moons,
dust clouds, cosmic tumbleweeds, overripe,
innumerable their particles, practically
undetectable and reach so massive, for centuries,
we looked up only to miss them altogether.
When your son had to pee, an urge
much like an asteroid’s, the day before
his third birthday, before you saw
his white orb sibling wane a clouded screen,
he pulled his pants down, the playground full
of other children, but there and then
he did it. Mooning, we call showing our own
two hidden globes, a water-ray
that ships would follow in the night
turned reminder to hide
what we’ve been made
ashamed of. The dust and dirt.
Our galaxy, mostly flecks and darkness.
Matter upon matter, not mattering
all that much. But tonight, you ran
with lit-up balloons tied to his stroller,
neon green and blue and yellow moons,
and you thought you felt a waxing
light inside. “Look, up there,” he said,
“A moving star,” edges fogged by dusk.
“When I get bigger I will fly. Am I
bigger already?” Am I the moons?
He must wonder. The hidden ones
first seen sixty years ago, when mooning
got its name, but nobody listened then,
and the astronomer was too afraid
to ask us, Look again. Tonight, on his last
evening as a toddler, you’ll scour the sky
for them, their pyramid-shaped glow
between the orbits, their audacity
to shine instead of shame.


Week 30: Large Cabbage

tornado warning & 400
bolts of lightning touched
down & 5000 people are out
of power & cranes are pulling
trees out of the water & from the bridge
they look like battered
bodies & Notre Dame
is on fire & one of its spires
has already fallen & unborn
skin is cells finding
their pigments & the fluid
around her shrinks as she grows
& tomorrow they will draw
your blood over & over & collect
3 vials each time & your veins
will rise bluer & your skin will
change pigments & bruise plum &
your sugar levels likely spike, your hands
going a little numb & last night
thunder growled louder
than your son & flashed
deer eyes in pitch dark & you dreamt
your water broke & flooded streets
wouldn’t let you leave the house
& the dog rubbed her wetness
against your hand & your son
cried a cyclone not to be left
alone & your belly shook
a storm & the basement flooded
& your husband slept through
as nothing, nothing,
ran from your thighs

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach ( emigrated from Dnipro, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She is the author of three poetry collections: The Many Names for Mother, Don’t Touch the Bones, and 40 WEEKS (YesYes Books, 2023), available for preorder: Her recent poems have appeared in POETRY, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, and AGNI, among others. She holds an MFA from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania. Julia is the author of the model poem for “Dear Ukraine”: A Global Community Poem She is the Murphy Fellow and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Hendrix College and starting next fall, she will be the Assistant Professor of Poetry at Denison University and relocate with her family to Columbus, Ohio.


Photography by: Andrew Seaman