loose translations


By Zoë Bodzas

like all girls named after tropical storms
we see with one big eye
we parade as picasso women
though we’re but specks in the chandelier
minnows masquerading as sunfish
fooling our mother
blinking back there on the driveway

small garden abloom in marquee lights
we wade through pachysandra and ivy
our kingdom hummingbird cool
it twitches and switches in mirage

in echoes we affect accents
whisper spells in brooklynese
the crocuses shimmy and sing it
my nana’s hoarse laugh
harrumphing down the stairs
on old woman heels

mother heckles us
lunch inside

we pirouette to the observatory dome
remember stars under daylight
and earth beneath pachysandra
benevolent crust and mantle

it hums like bird tectonics
spreading wings at rifts and valleys
we chew orchard sandwiches
on porch steps

everything sifts out the screen door
staccato russian
like confectioner’s sugar
dusting our ears
airy as the day

our stepfather spits stars
when he speaks
the vowels remembering baltic places
hidden by displacement
he’s the cubes in my iced tea
peeling back memories not quite ours
disappearing in twirls
like all girls named after tropical storms
we lick nightdew from wild blueberries
and smear jammed fingers on jumpers
and twist as bombazine cyclones
through the yard
gnats freckling face
knees telescoping beneath space
as the dome glows overhead we, holy, we
sisters snuggling serifs in our sleep.


Zoë Bodzas studies creative writing, women's studies and linguistics as an undergrad student. She attends Hamilton College in central New York, where she wears a lot of sweaters and writes poetic e-mails. She is originally from New Jersey.