Tanya Rakh: This Is Infinity Breathing
Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Photo: Joanna C. Valente



a spine to its forget-me-not fluid:

I want your every hurricane

I leave you piles of limestone

walk home in sheets of fog

I swallow all your waters

we intertwine silk and silver

in my thin-skin night twitches

we are the warm candy blood 

this is infinity breathing


fate, princess, says the knight as he holds out his hand. princess takes that hand and eats all his jeweled enchantments, sings dew songs as she crunches. wraps her precious sunrise a blanket around his castle, dives from towers now and then, catches squirrels in the night trees

everything here smells like apple core

I’m dizzy and the sidewalks are wet paint and

I swallow my own lungs again

trying out the backstroke

warm, princess, warm days are fading fast don't deny it your lips are gonna split so deep this time. the clean razor shine of winter on our smooth necks, we walk through cold aquamarine cities, a cloaking dream. all dimensions in our footsteps, each snowflake an open galaxy


until the dead rains cloud over 

and our mouths fill with crystal

let’s rupture these pitch caves

bloody and seamless

the shine, angel, 

your feathered hands



my sweet bone socket

(my live firefly)

my salt, 

I am a battery

(sweetest, ugliest yes)

I sweat in stitch and hemline 

(your hemline jaw)

our lanterns all glow here, 

fry up the dead girls


animals in our eyes

highways to 

black horizon 


white forest 


a big river

always a big river and the serpent trees 

don’t know how many crumble here, exactly 

(exactly, Arachne)

gods require tender care, 

the hands and impediments and 

something else

the violet blood of something else

the stream, 

river gutting through your 

orange eyes


(all froth and steam, you lie in pieces on the riverbed, 

newspapers swirl our winter streets)

every ice pleased with its perfect execution

every light watching (candle witness) 

every crack in our metallic sidewalks 

that vapor . . .

I spin you to your wind knees, 

smooth arms

arms at least, moon, 

whatever you call your lovers 

light has never cared

dark only cares because it’s restless

you pierce through multitudes in a wash


crack me open underneath this winter 

this thick, inescapable frost 

chills bend my knuckles, 

pulse my toes, 

you always call me that thing 

that stings most

incantations again

black gold and impossible 

(a glowing record) 

frost tangles


(never stop introducing 

your live ghosts to your dead ones

they love each other and need to sleep)

never tell me your ghosts are sorry

they’re not sorry 

they love every fall

Tanya Rakh was born on the outskirts of time and space in a cardboard box. After extensive planet-hopping, she currently makes her home in Wisconsin where she writes poetry, surrealist prose, and cross-genre amalgamations and works as a professional manuscript editor. Her writing often explores the interplay between the lyric and the visceral in imagery, form, and rhythm. Her poetry has appeared in the journals Bywords and Occasional Brilliance and is guest featured in the collection Used Wings by Tissy Taylor. Tanya has just finished her first book, Hydrogen Sofi, which she hopes to publish this year.