Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Natasha Teller Mar 2016
city lights peep through the blinds,
voyeuristic result of our impatience,
blinking at two bodies in a room
awake, alive, on fire
while the world sleeps around us.

years ago, my hand touched your back
for just seconds, and it burned for days.

this time, i feel it outside and in,
flames licking my spine, curling
around my thighs, reaching up and up and
--smoke thick on my lips, filling my mouth,
alarms screaming on the cellular level,
no truck coming to extinguish them.

you echo in my nose,
alcohol and salt, sandalwood and sweat,
like you were made of earth and vice,
like you came to anchor me to a night
i thought would only happen in dreams.

the sun finally peeks over the lowest buildings
and we are spent; my arm around you,
you fall asleep immediately.

and there in the sunrise,
each time my eyes open-- it's hair on fire,
a sea of freckles on your shoulders,
and i grin into my pillow
heady with the universe's whisper:
*"dreams do come true, darling."
what. is my life.

if this is the universe's way of apologizing for the **** i've been dragged through this year, i accept.
Natasha Teller Feb 2016
it’s 12:30 a.m. again and
dull disembodied teeth surface again and
they gnaw and they tear at my stomach again and
again I don’t want to sleep

it’s 12:30 a.m. again and
a possible hospital stay tempts me again and
it’d hurt but i’d get to leave work again and
again all i feel is weak

it’s 12:30 a.m. again and
i’ll pray that someday i’ll love teaching again and
i’ll sweat a sea into my bed again and
again it’s depression, not heat

it’s 12:30 a.m. again and
i taste tears and homesickness rising again and
i curse god for bigots and ******* again and
again I concede defeat
Natasha Teller Aug 2015

pink satin masks
blood and broken toes.
i keep effortless poise
while knees and lungs shake.

i dance in tattered tutus,
in old toe shoes,
for a pocketful of coins;

i dance until i am blind with joy,
until my lungs are full of trumpet shouts,
until i am exhausted and weightless,

until my audience is standing,
breath gone, knowing what it is to be--


in the storm of applause
one gnarled hand launches a torch.

"you danced with me," i cry--
her lips seal shut.
wild, cold eyes watch
flames singe my feathers,
fuse flesh to bone,
floorboards collapse.

she stays until she hears
my heart stop.

at dusk,
the stage is ash.


at dawn,
a chorus of mouths emerge from the ground,
my audience, full-throated, white-knuckled,
tchaikovsky hollowing cheeks,
nasoprotivnyia daruia;
knuckles white--

flat-footed, slack-jawed,
the arsonist stands--

and i ascend from the dirt
on pillars of diamond forged from ash,
while my bare feet spill blood and i say
look at the source of my strength--
while new wings spread,
blood-red and gilded and brilliant in the sun--
while fire sprouts like flowers from my palms,
while spiders wrap my toes in silk
and i dance on thick-tongued harmonies
that tremble the earth with new roots
and i bourrée across the green trunks

and i become the sun
"nasoprotivnyia daruia" -- "from all evil deliver them." It's a line from the choral version of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, which is a song that means the world to me <3
Natasha Teller Jul 2015
i feel like:

a violin string
unprepared for pizzicato
plucked too sharply

the skin of a drum
after ten thousand songs
beat too hard

a piano wire
awaiting the strike
strung too taut

the singer's throat
called for an encore
too hoarse to scream
Natasha Teller Jun 2015
I cannot
steel my heart
shut my mouth
cease to care

I cannot
turn my back
close my eyes
build a wall

I am lost--
should I leave
what I love?
Natasha Teller May 2015

Last winter,
when snow softened streets
and windswept ice decorated
cold light-posts, you called
Minnesota "home--"
for the first time.

I sat across from you
as a Minnesotan might--
I looked you in the eye
while we shared conversation
and you avoided my gaze.

Face red like firelight,
you smiled at all the right words
and spoke softly, your
thick accent stumbling
over English.

Each time our eyes met,
a grin darted across your lips,
an unspoken assent
to a question I hadn't asked--
then, quickly, you trained your eyes
on my shoulder-- on my forehead.

Maybe, I thought, he's
traditional-- maybe my
V-neck makes him uncomfortable.


Today, I learned that
eye contact-- in your country--
is an invitation
to bed.
Soooo THAT'S why he was blushing so furiously, and THAT'S why it was awkward. I should study all eye contact rules, I guess-- even before talking to a Finn. Oops.
Natasha Teller Apr 2015
1-- Legacy

This city was my ancestors' town.
We have laid tar on your horse-paths-
a university grew from Riverview roots-
you chopped firewood from the
great-great grandfathers
of these trees.

#2-- saint cloud sounds like

midnight, shoemaker: haunted cries.
munsinger's melody: scurries & chirps.
when TNT shatters granite at the quarry.
pucks' percussion at the brooks center.
buzz of summers on lake george's shore.
somalia & scandinavia, singing.
My city runs a contest each May; they engrave poems into portions of the sidewalk. This is the first year I've entered.
Next page