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By Gala Mukmolova
I’ve really been working on my orgasmic meditation, my ex tells me.
If the instructor touches my clit in a way that agitates me, I just
pretend I like it, and then I do.
She sends me a link to a TED talk on orgasmic meditation.
We talk for a bit about her recent breakup.
It’s the same TED talk link she sent me two months ago.
Thank God for Jen, she whispers and she means her best friend.
I brought a woman home last night just to talk, she tells me.
She reminded me of you.
Jen calls me throat-sick. Her complaints: I woke up on the floor.
The door was open. Jen is from Texas. She uses the phrase “Lady Friend.”
I say poor thing. I nod at the receiver. Oh yea, ugh, terrible. She
asks if I’d ever do that, leave her asleep on the floor, the house open
Of course not, I assure her. Take a hot shower. Don’t be sorry you called. Next morning she says sorry again.
My ex wants to know if I’ve ever watched The Facts of Life.
I google The Facts of Life because I can’t remember.
This woman I am dating is a total freak, she texts.
In a good way. She transfers their correspondence.
“You can grab my mullet anytime, Joe!”
“You got grease all oooover my cheerleader skirt.”
“Oh Blaire, I don’t remember you complaining.”
I had to share with someone who’d appreciate it, she writes,
after Blair and Joe sort out who gets the pie in their mouth
and who gets the underpants.
In a letter written on graph paper, four pages back and front, Marina
wants to know if she’s never felt heartbreak.
In a letter I start but never finish I tell her whatever heartbreak was
it’s nothing in the face of all this.
Woman Alone at Bar
In dining halls where women look through each other, carafe of coffee oil slick
and uneasy, the one I want is all ball and socket. She loves traffic cones, hard
hat zones, bad knuckles chewed with turpentine. Because we are both of us
I save her seat. Because I am not lonely
no bells fall from me along the dirt path where I call her name in that way she does
not care for. And cross. I watch her ping pong, all black shmata and strong shoulder.
Orange light bouncing over to me, ball in my hand, large as my mother’s left eye
What laser is precise enough to puncture a satchel behind the eye? Thick with
sadness, it cannot drain itself. A river runs outside over impossible rocks, rough
to touch. I press my face to the carpet and wait for her. I walk to the river and wait
for her. I sit down at the bar and wait for her.
I do not know whose voice I take to bed. At the bar, a karaoke song: stars fading
but I linger on, dear. Because we are both of us, the woman I want is holding up
a shadow of a man. He is tall and needs taking care of. The street, pockmarked
with construction, peeled back and orange at the edges.
Not long ago the ocean stayed with me, freckled, my father’s shoulders and chest,
the faint pink scar. My skin was half buoyant salt the sand unwieldy. Everything
an aperture. I held my father’s beating chest, conch against my ear. His photograph,
black and white, lies flat on my nightstand. Alight and young with curled red hair.
Gala Mukomolova was raised in Little Russia By The Sea and is the descendant of a Black Sea witch. She is currently working on a manuscript which aims to plumb the depths of that oceanic adolescence. She has marshaled the Mermaid Parade, expanded walls at Studio Museum in Harlem, and imitated a social worker in Portland, OR. Gala recently resided at the Vermont Studio Center and Pink Door Women’s Retreat. You can see some of her work in Chorus: A Literary Mixtape by Saul Williams and the Indiana Review. Now that she’s completed her MFA at the University of Michigan, Gala spends her time living the dream and examining the market value of feelings.