A Game Against Time: II
But I am a knot of branches with twisted emaciated wrists. My toes long and black, digging into the dry dust. I couldn’t possibly tell you what’s wrong, all is quiet and calm around but for that woman sifting sandflour between her fingers, whispering tales from her memory. A teaspoon of this, a handful of that. An ancient curse that stiffens the springs, turns water into a gray crust on the bottom. The wooden ladle she stirs her tales with has a burnt handle. Her words are stitches pinning me down to one place, hauling my nails deeper into the ground, yellow glassy eyes of nightmare birds watch me without a blink. The birds curl their claws around my bones, coughing and shifting their weight, wait for a treat. Black scribbles on a transparent canvas. To the left, a road weaves sideways, hard grooves cut through the petrified dirt. I keep an eye on it, my lids half closed.
Natalia Andrievskikh is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at Binghamton University. She grew up in a little provincial town in Russia reading tons of books and writing poems and children’s stories. After teaching English and literary analysis for two years at a local university, she won a Fulbright grant to study in the US. Natalia has taught literature courses at Binghamton University, published poems and essays, and served as Managing Editor of the literary journal The Broome Review. She likes fairy-tales, art house films, dancing, hazelnut chocolate, fashion shows, and black tea with lemon served in a tall glass with a traditional brass glass-holder (they serve tea like this on Russian trains, so it has the tingling flavor of travel).