divine magnet





Natalie Lyalin


Three Crows

I called to ask about signs

What did the crows mean all in a silent row

My grandmother would not reveal the meaning

Or the salt spilled in the cellar

The black cat running ahead

The wedding ring spinning on a long hair

She gave no answer

Because the question was coming from the woods

From a house on chicken legs

And it is likely she saw it with her own two eyes

That she was there at the time of creation

Or maybe she saw it with the third eye coming out of her forehead

Hidden by her childish curls

She won’t talk of the encounters or the wars

Or the trail of crumbs that brought her here

I call anyway to ask,

what does it mean that I dream of drinking a glass or red juice

Or that waves are overtaking me

Or my blindness after smelling some flowers

She says it does not matter

She says not to call from my wooden tower

Swaying in the wind with the rhythm of pines

She advises to lock up the basement

She advises to brush off the steps

She advises a slice of bread

A good knife

A good disposition


Flowers for Women Who Are My Grandmother

I woke up to see her fur hat

            sitting on its stand that looked like a head

A head silently looking in my direction

            On a moonless night

when no one seemed to be breathing but the flowers

The day got going and in the midst of flowers we ate breakfast

The kitchen promised cake

Whatever I imagined was right

Whatever I feared was going to happen

I had been given the keys to cancer

To seeing the future with all its faults

How on a hot day in Italy she would catch a ride with an aristocrat

How on a different hot day she caught a ride in Atlanta

With a ripped bag of salted fish and spring onions

Why didn’t she run from us into the hills

To have a grand new life

As the duchess of nameless estate fortified behind iron gates

So when we looked for her we wouldn’t find her

And would eventually move on



Galina watching the news is all Galina does now

Galina watches and worries and calls

No, we are not in the flooded part of the state

No, we are not under a tornado warning, a hurricane watch

The riots have not touched us

We are all home and the door is locked

No, we are not going out tonight

Or ever at night again

The thing about Galina is that she got to see a piece of the world

Galina lived through a war, an endless string of soldiers,

An expanding grid of trains

Galina retired with abundant flowers

And remained happy or something close to it

Galina was never afraid but she probably was

She was not one to go out into the wilderness

She was one for numbers and schedules and sandwiches

Galina went out every morning and ignored the sun until she needed his attention

The moon was a close friend

Galina had a pet goose and there are other stories about her

Galina went skiing and hurt her eye

She loved everybody but not a lot

She only loved me really

And maybe this is a downfall

But she wouldn’t say so

No, she would not at all