Sunday Jun 23

ElliottOkla--creditPriscillaCharrat Okla Elliott is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois where he works in the fields of comparative literature and trauma studies. He also holds an MFA from Ohio State University. His fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translations have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, New Letters, A Public Space, and Subtropics, among others. He is the author of the fiction collection, From the Crooked Timber (2011). His poetry collection, The Cartographer’s Ink, is forthcoming from NYQ Books in late 2014, and his novel, The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (co-authored with Raul Clement), is forthcoming in 2015 from Dark House Press. Purchase From the Crooked Timber here.


Visiting Lenin’s Tomb


The mummy of Russia will not rise—

the mummy of Russia
with a woman’s bullet still lodged
in his neck.

Russia is the home of the undead.

Any vampire would choose to live
in St. Petersburg
with its seventeen-hour nights.

And zombies crawl the clubs of Moscow
for black opium, funhouse-
mirroring the mummy
in his glass coffin.


To be able to say finally
and honestly
that I want to live
in the time I am in, as the person
I am, with the facts and reasons
of myself broadcast all around me—

this, this—

is my single remaining dream.


Russian proverb:
If you look into the terrible past,
you will lose an eye.
If you do not look into the terrible past,
you will lose both eyes.


His vanguard assistants
rushed him to the hospital.

The slow pressure in his skull
bulged his eyes like turnips.

No revolutionary thoughts emerged
from his trauma-swollen brain.

He is a single undying dream.


Elliott Photo Credit: Priscilla Charrat