Natalie Lyalin

I Make No Apologies



You are downstairs,

making lunch


But my anger is here,

sitting on top of the nail


you drove into our wall,

so reckless and with no regard


for the aging plaster

and with no regard for me


when you serve pasta

and the portion is enormous


I joke you are trying to kill me

and together we laugh


I make no apologies for flab,

for the need for quiet,


how obviously my head needs a rest,

and yet I do not forgive


how everyone said rest when the baby rests

let the house dissolve into mess


I wanted to chart graphs

and plot my lines of descent


Things have gathered around me,

a spool of bespoke twine


my diploma

a map


I thought about going back to school

Just so I could caption a photo with dad


as Drs. Lyalin

Not so, I’m going to work


With my coffee and eyes that water

at the slightest hint of discontent


I make no apologies for that

Dad Flew to Canada



Some people migrate

by boat and wash up


to shore, fresh shells

the sun, a quiet ambassador


Some people climb

into trucks, through the woods


dragging the memory of a bed,

branches and leaves


A ball eclipses the sun, the stream

keeps running


It is still possible to navigate

with the stars, to move through


a desert toward a light,

Moses becoming a mist


walking out of the frame,

into a sacred sleep or not


To eat or not, we wait on rocks

covered in insects and wings


Years later, we are naturalized

Which means we are gardens led to pasture


We are somewhat neutralized,

we float like ions


repeat our last names at every turn

We are alive and watchful with passports


On this day it is written,

and on this day it is sealed


A child washes ashore

The world shrinks


Contracts to take,

the impossible back in


Going back,

he puts on his sneakers


a shirt, he shrinks a size,

begins to crawl,


there is a smile,

and rolling over on a rug,


kaleidoscopic thread, spit,

he turns


he is the size of a watermelon,

a cantaloupe, a rutabaga, a lime


a prune, a blueberry

He is in the water, it is dark


Is God here, we move through the

woods, we keep moving


Just particles at this point,

pushing further north


NATALIE LYALIN is the author of two books of poetry, Blood Makes Me Faint, But I Go For It (Ugly Duckling Presse 2014), and Pink & Hot Pink Habitat (Coconut Books 2009), as well as a chapbook, Try A Little Time Travel (Ugly Duckling Presse 2010). She is the co-editor of Natural History Press. She lives in Philadelphia.