"Nadia" #1, #3, and #4

nadia #1

her father is some mad scientist
concocting wild schemes
with young girls in a maze
of becoming.
nadia wants to disown
            or report him to the king of east 4th
& his suspicious elves high on vicodin
& laxatives from the 7-11
but she might wake up
with sulphur burns
on the east side of the bed
where the sun is a vague
hope for an afterlife
                        without want
            without anybody's trumped up shit



nadia #3

she visits the old man
            in his basement apartment
smelling of turpentine
                        & unwashed socks
she brings him chinese food with
extra soy & duck sauce &
butter-crunch cookies
            from the bakery on 5th.
& each time, she sits for him
allows him to sketch her
a different shade, a different angle,
                                    a different animal.
[each animal is a different kind of magic.]

"what will i be this time, mr. li? let's see, already
been a fox, a robin, a hummingbird, a tortoise,
a squirrel, a very slick hare too fast
for the human race."
today, he sketches her as a zebra.
"why a zebra?" she asks
"because you will elude everyone.
in this life you are utterly alone."
"always have been," she says
with i've told-you-so look.
nadia stuffs half a biscuit into his mouth
and eats the other half on the way out.

on the subway, crammed with crushing
bodies, nobody breathing a beat or a bolus of air,
she slinks & slips through & if she touches anyone
by mistake,
            no one will see her.
because she's a zebra
the one the old sketch artist
is still dreaming of
with his eyes closed
calling her "daughter"
calling her "dragonfly"
calling out for her
to make it home safely.



nadia #4

go to the outskirts
of the city
dig yourself
a soft piece of ground.
make sure no one is watch-
ing. water it each day.
after the city goes to sleep.
after the city makes love
            to its mirrors
plant seeds
in this body of dirty.
it will be your new body.
wait until it rains.
now, throw yourself
into it. throw everything
you have into it.
& you will rise
& be covered with mud.
but your skin will be enriched.
your lover will want you
in all his conflicted stereotypes
about a woman made of mud
of what could/couldn't be
with sky-blue eyes.

now call yourself, nadia.
& in the rain
make love to yourself.
do it.



Kyle Hemmings

Kyle Hemmings has work published in Sonic Boom, Deracine, Right Hand Pointing, and elsewhere. He loves 60s garage bands and 50s grade B sci-fi flicks. 


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Saturday, July 29, 2017 - 11:03