Under sleep-water

by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

We become other:
        things that are not-quite
             bodied during sleep.

Twitching and jerking
        like animals
             postmortem,

that's what your body starts
         when heavy next to mine
             and I can't move

from underneath
        the cadence
             of that motion.

Time hangs over
        like an elephant ear,
             listening—

waiting for us
        to turn outside ourselves
             or for your feet

to sink into my bones
        like shovels, so far down
              that skin's no longer

skin, so far, until I can't
        untie myself from a self
             so solidified, it isn't mine.

Then come the dreams.
        I'm keeping them
             as secrets from myself,

and in this stasis
        under-in-and-one with you
             I swim to them—

our colors blend
        like water in a bath.


Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach came to the United States in 1993, from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. She grew up in the DC suburbs of Rockville, MD, and then headed west to complete her MFA in Poetry at the University of Oregon. Starting Fall 2013, Julia will return to the east coast as a Benjamin Franklin Fellow in the Comparative Literature Ph.D. Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

She has been awarded an Honorary Mention in the 2010 Spoon River Poetry Review Editor’s Prize and named the winner of the 2011 Karen Jackson Ford Poetry Prize. Her work is forthcoming from Poetica Magazine and has been published in ROAR, Cirque, Spry Literary Journal, and THREE. She is also also the Poetry Editor for Construction Magazine.

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