Ana Pugatch

January First

 

Snow traces
evening light.

A fox with a
crook in its tail,

a good omen for
the new year.

Imperfect ink
of black paws

across white
snow. To call

the small gray-
headed crow.

She’s 58 years
old. To know

she won’t call
back. Winter

won’t thaw
the jackdaw

at dusk. 
 

The Dollmaker

Age nine, body of a doll.
My bangs fell above
my eyes in a stick straight
line of fear.

Dark blonde, darkened
hallway. I always ran
straight up the stairs
past

my least favorite painting,
“The Dollmaker.” Six by six,
black oil canvas. The man
was wrapped

in a loin cloth, sat in a chair.
Sockets hollowed in
the overhead light.
He rested

his chin in his hand as
the dolls flew about the room,
limbless bodies, some
lost curly heads

suspended like planets
in his orbit. And even though
he brooded and hated, he still
controlled

his creations. To be a doll
who made an escape
from its maker and
tools—

to escape up the stairs, into
a body of darkness. 

 

Minute in the Woods

Michigan

By the time someone hit the brakes and who it was I can’t remember,
the quail’s brood evaporated into empty cornstalks. You couldn’t forget

the mother’s beady eyes, the accusatory plume. I know we got out
to look around. Beyond the rustling field there was a blood-splotch

of woods, its edges seeping toward us. At age six I was known for
bolting out of sight and I tumbled into slaughter. The deer’s neck

was still intact, its entrails gorged with flies. It lifted its head to look
at me, then down at its ribs, exposed. Groaning, nose glistening.

The mushrooms crushed were re-growing themselves when a hand
beckoned from the bush as the trees lit up like matchwood and

it was time to get out. Followed the trail of blood, tear-stained, hoarse.
But I was told I never found a deer because I would’ve told.

After the Party

Snow has a way
of making us
sleep.

Who knows what
shut down first.

Death drank deeply
as her kidneys
ached,

gin pickling
her liver.

Currants
scattered in
her hair

fanned over
ice, like platelets

of fungi whose
bands bloom
outward

in spring.
Isolated eye

of Jupiter’s
storm, blood
thickening.

Found by
late morning’s

permafrost.
Boots removed
in the slate

road. Like
a trucker

veering too far
left, lulled to
sleep by

blowing bands
of snow.

 

 

 

 

 

Ana Pugatch is an MFA candidate studying poetry at George Mason University in Virginia. She taught English in China and Thailand for several years. She has a bachelor's in English from Skidmore College, and a master's degree in education from Harvard. Her work has been published in Thin Air Magazine, Cagibi, PØST-, and Foothill Poetry Journal, among others.