Captain Hook, I fed your hand to a crocodile
not out of malice, but for survival.
This city is swollen with oil. Towers
are eerie at night — gators never sleep.
Your clocks tick away in the crocodile paunch.
Birds guide the flyers.
Even disheveled-grey à la Patti Smith,
no one owns a watch in the Neverland.
I hover — a firefly way up over dim lofts, lounges —
along a procession of headlights in a traffic trance,
I steep-dive under the bridge to Chenevert Street
where the hungry lost boys line up on Sundays:
the ceaseless shrill of a highway junction,
gapped teeth, macaroni & cheese I serve
warm styrofoam in chapped hands.
In the mornings I shoot upwards
peering at people who peer at numbers,
shove through cramped cubicles
with hope for advancement
like lobsters with the tied up claws
in the aquarium of a seafood restaurant.
Everyone was a winged child. Everyone is …
This is my neighborhood: middle-aged,
neatly mowed, no more anticipations —
anxious doves at pink-ash dawns. Flatland.
Each day is the future —
firm fresh fruit I make juice, pour
into your glass on the glass table
with a familiar sunray trembling.
October air is brisk, intense. Judgments
are softer, passions — tender, detached:
embrace too much to claim possessions.
Fairy tales … Maples in flame send firebirds.
Fire, what have I done to you?
Until 2007, Elina Petrova worked as an engineer in Ukraine. She has many Ukrainian and Russian publications, and a book of Russian-language poems. Elina works in a Houston law firm. Her poetry has been published in Illya’s Honey, FreeFall, Texas Poetry Calendar and various anthologies. Harbinger Asylum recently nominated her for the Pushcart Prize. Publication of Elina’s first book of poetry in English is pending.