Elijah Tomaszewski received his MFA from Rosemont College and his BA from Susquehanna University. His work has been featured in Bright Sleep, Easy Street, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing, Jet Fuel Review, [apt], RiverCraft, and Tacenda Press. He lives in Philadelphia.
a child is not to sleep in a crib without a red string tied around a rung,
as this could invite the Evil Eye.
a child is not to be named before its birth,
as this could also invite the Evil Eye.
a child is not to be named for a living relative,
as this could confuse the Angel of Death.
a child is not to be named for a dead relative,
as this could further confuse the Angel of Death.
a child is not to be kissed on the feet,
as the dead are asked for forgiveness in this way.
a child is not to be brought to a cemetery while still in the womb,
as this could delay the coming of the Messianic age.
and a mother is not to cut her hair during her pregnancy,
as this is simply bad luck.
in munch’s “self-portrait in hell”
my shadow is
a deer-faced woman,
my swollen, illumined chest:
echoes of potential.
I am thin now, my shoulders
threaded with muscle,
and all my hairs are natural and
correct. naked against the wall,
I appear warm and
the doe reminds me that
they lit her hair first,
how the poison snatched her voice
and drained her hips.
I am thin now, and my silence
mutes me. with every step
I drag her