Raven Feathers

They would sit by the fence, spitting sunflower seed shells and chatting about faraway countries. Actually, her dad rarely talked, but he was a perfect listener and he never missed a single train. No matter what he was doing in the house or in the garden, he would appear by her side right before the first wagon came into sight.

sliver moon
that constant itching
under the cast

©Tzetzka Ilieva, 2016


low gravity

a pink jumper. my mom says she read something about calf muscles and ligaments. his mom says it’s nonsense. they both agree that it is too early anyway. i click “buy”.

it goes on and on –
the list of unpronounceable
lunar deities’ names

Credits: The Other Bunny; March 22, 2016
©Tzetzka Ilieva

Business with the Moon

There were all kind of animals inside her room – a deer, a cat, two antelopes (like in that documentary for Africa that she watched the other day), a monkey with a knitted bow, her uncle’s hamster, and a completely white goose with slightly ruffled feathers.

She knew it was dream, because she didn’t hear the annoying creaks every time an animal was going in or walking out of the closet. Of course, in real life, none of her strange guests would have been able to open the door to begin with, but she thought of that only after she woke up.

dumping my parents
for new ones
I choose the richest in town…
was my childhood self
imaginary too?

©Tzetzka Ilieva, 2016


They would wait for her to step out, but not for the door to close, so sometimes, when she wasn’t fast enough to get away from the bus, she could hear the first one to exclaim, “Poor Kira! Poor, poor Kira!”

She didn’t have to be there to know that all of them would repeat that. Even the kid, driving the bus, whose mom used to run away every month or two, because she wanted to live in the city, not in this “mud hole”, and used to leave her son with Kira, crying and apologizing every time before disappearing and then again after returning, even this kid, Kira knew, would mumble to himself, “Dear auntie, dear poor auntie Kira…”, while pressing the button to close the doors behind her.

sunlit vineyards –
I exchange hats
with a scarecrow

©Tzetzka Ilieva, 2016


The ball bounces off the curb and keeps on rolling down. It passes the gate, turns left by the welcoming sign: one letter, another…, exclamation point, star. It is on the main street now, crossing the double yellow line. The first car slows down, a kid’s face pressed against the rear window. The second car stops. The passenger door opens, a man jumps out, picks up the ball from the gutter, waves at the tire-screeching truck behind and hops back in.

first day of school
handwritten name tags
tell all and nothing

©Tzetzka Ilieva, 2016

Paper Trail

The realtor drops a brochure as she struggles to close the screen door. The wind picks it up: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, new roof. The sheet falls at the feet of the stone garden buddha.

maroon sunset
I print the tickets
just in case

Tzetzka Ilieva, 2016


The barefoot walkers are not so many in my neighborhood. There’s this girl with curly hair that always wears it on a ponytail; a boy that likes to run the hills; a woman that often moves her flip-flops from one hand to the other; and there’s me.
We never talk, but even when we have shoes on our feet, we give each other the nod.

suburban asphalt
what a bluebird
has to say to another

©Tzetzka Ilieva, 2016


The smells were different. And the sounds. So loud, so intense. The sudden fear paralyzed her.

She could see the silhouettes of the others, moving around unfazed. The short lady was enthusiastically gesturing. The man, holding one of his favorite brown bottles, was nodding. The youngsters were happy about something invisible.

For a long time she sat motionless on the roof of her house. Only her head would give a tiny twitch when a new wave of the sound rose up. 
Cicadas. The South knew them and loved them with a love that only a parent could feel for her odd child. But she was not from the South and had no desire to be. She jumped down and ran.

pitch-dark night
the lulling hum of our
old air conditioner

©Tzetzka Ilieva, 2016

Looking the Fish In the Eye

“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” my daughter steps away from the counter.
“Fish is good for you. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, and Omega-3. You know, all that stuff that you buy in bottle.”
“Because I prefer it in a bottle. The capsules are neat and most importantly,” she pauses for effect, “they do not have EYES.”
“You don’t have to eat the eyes. Unless you want to,” I try not to smile.
 “Who’s eating eyes?” Her brother has just entered the kitchen. “Where are they? Oh, cool! Did you save me the scales and the guts?”
“Not this time.”
“Fine,” my daughter’s voice is perfectly calm again. “Make fun of me, if you want, but try to look that fish in the eye and say out loud that you are vegetarians.” And she leaves.

red snapper on the grill
we tell ourselves
it’s just dry thunder

©Tzetzka Ilieva, 2016