When They Come

When they come they will not wear horns
They will thoughtfully put those away
Sink them to the very bottom of their jewelry boxes
For now.
They will carefully sheathe their claws
In pebble leather that smells romantically of the past
Reminding you of winter mornings, grace, long drives whose destinations
Have disappeared from memory – left in their place are sunlit shards, bright slivers
Of hope and expectation.

Your boy has long legs, his ankles peek out slyly from his jeans again
Watching the Leonids under a blanket, he falls asleep
It’s dark but you can still make out the shadows
Cast by his eyelashes onto the cheeks like guiltless apples.
The bread has hardened into rock, and in the quiet
You feel the approach of another publisher’s rejection letter
The white wine complains against your tongue
About not having had the chance to cool down properly in the fridge
The baby’s having a conversation with her father’s shoulder
Below the floors worms twitch like music strings.

You are invited, come and see –
How gravitational waves grow on the universe like teeth
Between their ridges all is tedious and holy
From twin toothbrushes that lean trustingly against each other
To the tap that’s leaking
Because someone tonight
Must still do the weeping for the world.

Their tails will be folded into raw silk
Their scales smoothed by peptides, antioxidants, rose milk
They too have favorite smells (burnt sugar, snow) and favorite colors (lilac, gold)
They too think it’s unfair that a distant grave now shelters grandma’s bones
They fight their daily battles, they fantasize about rest.
When they come for your children they will look just like anyone else.





natalia-antonova-authorNatalia Antonova was born in Ukraine and grew up in North Carolina. As a journalist, she has covered Russia, Ukraine, and the Middle East. She writes plays in Russian and publishes English-language poetry on her personal site: www.nataliaantonova.com.