Liza Kolbasov is a freshman at Brown University who has been an avid scribbler since she first learned to hold a pen. In her poems, she draws inspiration from those everyday moments that can slip through your fingers if you're not careful. When she's not writing, you can find her exploring coffee shops, swallowing books, or wandering around town.
break a glass in your hand by squeezing too
hard. watch the water explode around you, rising,
a sky full of fireworks, then rushing down.
forget the shards on the bedside table. fall asleep.
one week later, wake up to a cut, run
out of curse words out of breath out of
power. let yourself sink into once-burgundy
velvet, feeling it with a fresh-red finger—it looks
like cherry juice. you’ve forgotten how to hold a pen.
maybe bend it—? until it breaks, too, and you’re left
with ink all over. brush a strand of hair away.
think, how weak you are, yet how easy to break
everything. pick up the newspaper, yesterday’s, or perhaps
last friday’s? you don’t remember.
it doesn’t matter, anyway—it makes paper cranes,
you forget your hands. blackspot-redspot-melting
with words. you have to break everything to put it back
together again. set the birds down for a moment, their wings
weighing on the unfamiliar rivers flowing through your skin—
then let them go. in a mud puddle, fresh, lazy, waiting
for a girl in a scarlet dress to call, look, mommy—to sully her hands
to bring them home with her. to play. perhaps—? to fly.
or just to melt, unnoticed, with the leaves
shrivelling away from the trees.
summer, in abstract.
I try & fail to read poetry. I think,
maybe I am turning into someone
I’ve just missed being, but that implies
change, & I am not, I think,
ready. I make coffee in hopes of
becoming, but that. I say it’s silly,
isn’t it. I say life is nothing
like a poem, but poetry is everything
like life. I am told that would be
abstraction. maybe that’s it, to be
abstracted. we want to be seen—
the sky is blue, today, cloudless. I am told
we are all happier in summer, & I suppose
this must be true. go on now, paint some clouds.
I drink my coffee to give my heartbeat
meaning. what makes one a poet? aren’t we all?
what makes a person? maybe it’s making
coffee. maybe it’s painting clouds.
we grin in livid green-electric,
melting-like—all stretched cheekbones & sliding.
i fall down today in a whirl of petals.
there is too much
for one world
and too little home
of that too. somewhere. scraps of you
in my pockets, lint-like, soft and
suffocating. in the cracks of my sidewalk,
the way the sun cocked its head
the other day. & i’m
the electricity flowing
through these powerlines.
ignited in yesterday’s
rain. smell the
concrete reaching. dearest.
i’ve always dreamed of lightning—smile,
baby. breathe in
i’m not scared i promise i want to be
it was summer & the ground was melting
like i dreamed of smoke &