I want to hold you like the light in my hands
Like lungs hold the pace of breathing
And a heart, the space of beating
I want to take you into my arms
The way the grasses take in the winds
That have traveled, oh, so far from the sea
And what a journey
Laden with salt from seaweed
And wishes from lonely hearts
I will watch over you like the sky.
I have spoken few words in the dead of night
That haven’t haunted the morning next
Nor that haven’t succeeded in overcoming a solid mind
As mine so seldom had been,
That yet closed some hole lingering from day’s end
I have thought through centuries of moments
That only lasted a whim by what was known to others
But were wishes to whatever my heart found itself groundlessness upon
I have cried, or slept
Withered or refreshed anew
I have meditated by seconds and lost years from my life
in the attachments of my mind’s pursuits
At some times, I have prevailed
In peace, watching the light go down
In warmth, my soul lighted like a hearth by the companionship of friends
I have even sustained that peace which I once doubted would return
Though it is often fleeting, through it’s often hidden form–
My experience has known its truth.
And while in night my memory might forget,
It lays beneath, still true.
There is enough room in the human heart to hold all of these emotions, these hurts, these loves, these hopes and worries, at once. There is space for the things we feel in all of the thousands of moments we feel them. They pile up in the infinity inside us, they stack and tumble and gather dust. Our heart squeezes, and there is still room. Our heart breaks and yet there’s enough space for it to be broken, to be healed, to mend and crack and yet beat again. This space is here regardless, whether we have drawn our shields or opened the gates. There is space enough for ourselves.
I am struck by seeds
The wind caught from dead floods
Stuck in my hair like wet petals
On the sides of my boots
When my hair slapped my face
But the windmills still drown out
The sound of Himalayan earthquakes
When we walked this lane
Our shadows waited longer than today
And I still have no money
For garden gloves.
I collected Emily, and Audrey, and Anais
read with Camus and Maugham
replaced Heinlein on the bookshelf with Hardy
only to return to them both, side by side
as so many things now stand before me,
side by side
Here and now are so similar to when and then
And as I speak I hear all the words
I’ve never said
and all the things I’ve said before
I have not twisted, but lain prone
beneath the silk curtain, this body was healing
draped by a mind always changing
and yet still in service to this moment
There is no road that has not led back to now,
and no preparation that has been any less.
Always in awe of the trade off of Time,
I sit guard while you two sleep
Parents I can’t help but parent
In your timelessness I still watch over.
You meet modernity with enthusiasm
As I look back through old books
And write cynicism on my tombstone
Your eyes shine like the child you remember
But I fail in my fatigue to think with fondness of the past
Yet we laugh the same
Still speak our drawls in synchronized smiling
Leaving no question of my heredity.
The world is heavy here
sinking before the morning came to be
we wake in coffee to read outrageous news
match riddles in our minds to new killers
lose track of the sprawling progress we were making
even together, it is heavy here
Clouds cannot hide the spread of sound and lies
You were not meant to speak freedom
you were meant to breathe it and live.
Irkadura begins with a chilling opening that will destroy you if unprepared. Having read Ksenia Anske’s Rosehead several years ago, I was still impressed by the amount of immersion and experienced as I waded through this flood of a novel, showcasing Anske’s mastery of plot and pacing. Overtime, the story buoys the reader rather than drowning them, like a crocodile playing with it’s meal, with scenes that deftly unfold as we escape with Irina out of the one hell and into another. We read her thoughts and learn her tragedy, balancing our hope Irina isn’t going crazy with the fear of another failure once things look up for our traumatized anti-heroine. As new characters are introduced, we see the world of butterflies and ravens is more colorful with each inspection. Indeed, we may even dare hope for a happy ending, propelled by the inner strength that Irina, pregnant and only 16 years old, may yet uncover despite a life of abuse in a city on the edge of utter turmoil.
While difficult at first (the first few chapters were like a punch in the gut), I quickly came to love this book, the shape it took in my heart, and even the ending, which I’ll leave for readers to discover. The duality of human kindness and cruelty, of love and apathy, and the irony of in attention on even the happiest of days are intricately woven throughout this novel. Irina’s journey against backdrop of human apathy in the midst of hate is both startling and grounding in it’s place in history.
Irkadura is not just a story about the darkness in this world, but also the importance of finding your own freedom, in whatever form that may be. Perhaps the reason I favor this book so much is because of it’s truth, without limiting itself by what’s required of the genre, but being itself. Brace yourself; it’s worth the read.
Interested in this author? https://www.kseniaanske.com/