These winter woods—Megan Finkel

After Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin

Dust leeched over her damp eyes, she goes into her deep sleep

Once upon a time
a girl was running
sick with lovesickness
lamenting the life 
that evaded her at every
grasp and clutch
She ran from the animal
drifted through the misty
haze of these winter woods

We do not part ways at the stream
There we wish to capture love’s 
Returning guile: Tatyana’s dream
It is true that Svetlana suffered first
though I am beckoned to join Tatyana
at the border of her sleep
A horn grows through
the center of my head and I wonder
if this is the paradise beyond death
where you tempted me long ago
I’ve taken my potions and 
raked my body of its charm 
shaken free leaves…

Here in the forest, far from home
she remembers she has no home
She fears the outstretched talons coming up on her
The bear that breaths down her shoulders
pounds the ground in her tracks
A woman is a woman is a woman:
she runs simply because she must

Her fears are perched in the long bodies of trees.
Her feet do not touch the ground.
Snow falls to meet the shape of her shadow.
She floats into a fire she knows not of.

Daughter to no one, stranger to all
she treads where there is no path
and lets the tears fall freely 
For these are such emotions
as full-time dreamers are made on

She enters into a hall where a
feast is at hand, the sound of
restlessness traversing her ears
Tatyana’s eyes awaken to
the room’s monsters
She wonders if she is meant to die in order preserve this dream…
She finds she has stumbled upon this
awesome otherworld where
animals fuse into beasts over dinner and champagne
A ring of mutilated breeds, dogs and skeletons
and among them her extravagant lover
The master of this unlikely crowd
The master of every wish and will

If I could kill him myself, I would

The shiver that runs through Tanya runs through me too…
There is no stumbling back into the
light to arrive calmly at the shore of ‘home’
or plucking flowers from the earth to carry with you
on the return journey
There is only the pain of being severed from this world
and plunged into the next by a wound
left by the one you love most
Tatyana, I hold her like a crystal up to one eye
and try to see what it is she sees…
If only for an instant, we embrace in bardo
Neither wake nor sleep on our flesh, 
her body and my body are no different
We breathe a single unified breath before daylight shoots us dead

Megan Finkel (she/her) is a queer writer and a student of Comparative Literature at NYU. She is published in Anti-Heroin ChicCP QuarterlyDaily Drunk Magazine, and more. You can find her on Twitter @megfinkel.

photo by Simon Berger (via unsplash)