ONE: Sonya Vatomsky & Friends / by Sonya Vatomsky

Dead Woman Poem


There’s a dead woman in my house; we sit together, teacups raised
and gums stinging with licorice my father brings from Finland – there’s
no one else who likes the taste – listen: my dead woman’s fingers,
they go bluer in winter and when she holds mine (warm but wet with the
side-effects of one of my many prescriptions, those pink lozenges, our
joking precaution to keep me from how she is, like that’s how you don’t
get dead) and there’s a second when I totally forget there’s a difference

between us; then she’s off again about the ground, the earth, the dirt –
my dead woman talking with her hands, yelling out burial is a metaphor
and not even the right one, yelling out most would be fine with seafloor
blue going down, with a kind of breath holding, yelling out auto-aquatic
asphyxiation. And the thing is, I know there’s a difference but I don’t
always care. Give me peat bog, give me cheap soil, give me ashes –
or spontaneous combustion, even, because if you want a trace then
you don’t really mean it, says my dead woman with her bright dead
voice and our tea goes down her throat a big joyful thing, this spreading
out of warmth, this brief moment in which I can’t say
I really want to go anywhere.





Sonya Vatomsky is a Moscow-­born, Seattle-­raised ghost. They are the author of Salt is for Curing (Sator Press) & My Heart in Aspic (Porkbelly Press) and a poetry editor at Anthropoid. Find them by saying their name five times in front of a bathroom mirror or at


Colleen Louise Barry is an artist, teacher, and writer based in Seattle, WA. Her comics and poems appear or are forthcoming in jubilat, The Rumpus, The Tampa Review, H_NGM_N, and other places. A chapbook of drawings and poems, Sunburn / Freezer Burn, is available from smoking glue gun (2014). Another chapbook, The Glidden Poems, made out of paint sample swatches from Home Depot, is forthcoming from dancing girl press (2015). Colleen teaches art and writing at Hugo House and Seattle ReCreative. She is also the founding editor in chief of Mount Analogue.