TWO POEMS – Ally Malinenko

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Fiction, Poetry
Tags: , , , ,



“We don’t have to go to Tangier,” I tell him.

“No way,” he says. “I’m not going to be the one who

messes up your chance to go to Africa.”


“It’s not that, I tell him,

it was just that book.


I got this crazy idea in my head that

I would step foot on every continent

from that book.”

But what if there are other places I want to go?

I ask the empty room, looking at the map taped to the wall.

There just isn’t enough time, I worry.


“Sure,”he says, from the bathroom,

then there is the sound of him spitting

out toothpaste. “Doesn’t matter to me. Besides,

that crazy fuck is burning the Koran down in Florida so…who knows.

I don’t know if we want to walk around a Muslim country

screaming‘American’ you know?”

Then the sharp inhale as he sucks in

and looks at his teeth.


I examine the map again and I think to myself,

man, these books, all of them, not just these ones,

but all of them,

even the ones about to be written,

they are going to be the death of us.




When it come on, it startles me.

This realization of how many of us there are.


The subway car pulls up to the platform and I watch their

faces slide by, these people, who walk the same streets,

breathe the same air.


Their fingers touching the same metal poles,

and handrails, the same doors


Coming in. Coming out.


It is all of us, we alone.

I wonder what they are searching for


and I hope they wonder what I am searching for,

before the train clanks and heaves,


this vehicle of mankind.


The woman waits, pulling her hair out of her mouth,

the breeze underground can be strong.


She sighs and rubs her eyes.

I am you, I think as I pass her,


and we can trade lives. I can live inside your little world,

and with you pull poems

from your teeth.


You live inside a room I can’t imagine, and have never been to.

The moonlight probably falls on the floor there, long and elegant.


The woman on the platform leans toward the train,

leans, the way one must lean into pain.


Keep it, and then give it away, like breath

and keep passing that way from one of us to another.


  1. commute was great !!!!!
    we can trade lives………….OMG………..i’m not going to say anything………….but i’m thinking

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