the rage of the old river

by Sofia Ezdina in Issue Fifteen, May 2024

She uncovered her voice from her bed,
loaded the verbs,
stirred up the interjections’ beehive;
she gathered the air in her lungs

she called —
with the cold howl of the subways,
with the hum of hunchbacked streets.

and it came. From the seaside.
Demolished walls and towers,
temples and mall and all.
The waves are swift, deadly, bitter and foam
            breaking free from the stone heart
            prison of the captive ocean

Sailors sang in the distance,
a whale plodded to the square from the pier.
Townhall cut motley keel.

            streets floundered under her steps;
            bridges selflessly drowned,
            the city drove you into a dead-end
            of the yards,
            dropped a tin bucket from the roof.
            With four Richter points, it hit the ground
            and slowly crawled back upward,
            saving its skin,
            tearing off a layer of paint
            off the walls with its chain.

            The canals overflowed the banks and
            crept behind you,
            washing off the asphalt,
            wasted themselves,
            knew that they would soon dry out,
            and the survivors would choke in puddles.
            Neva stood on, roared,
            exuding steam of hysteria,
            remembered 1824. Her blood
            boiled at the same temperature
            as the Earth’s core. Her muddy tears,
            which had lost all salt on the shores
            of the Gulf of Finland, whipped your back
            with lashes, she soaked into your skin,
            infecting your body
            with memories of the flood,
            with last thoughts of the drowned,
            with the routes of the undercurrents.

            You took ten steps and fell to your knees.
            The canals behind you stumbled,
            lapsed on each other in panic.
            Rhymes swallowed with water, breathed jerkily;
            breaking an octave, verses changed places
Becoming more by becoming less by becoming else.

© 2024 Sofia Ezdina

Sofia Ezdina

Sofia Ezdina is an emerging writer and immigrant queer woman who befriends stray animals and whispers eerie things. Her works appeared in Bridgit Gates, Enchanted Conversation, and Air and Nothingness Press. Her short stories were nominated for the Utopian Award and Pushcart Prize 2023.

Poetry by Sofia Ezdina
  • the rage of the old river