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Dad, do you remember,

I was five. One afternoon
you woke up tired and sent me

to the store to buy you cigarettes.
On the way I met a friend,

so I forgot and started playing.
You waited, livid, then ran out

and found me. She and I were busy
stuffing our socks with pebbles and jumping.

You started hitting me on the street,
then dragging me towards the apartment.

Dad, do you remember, I didn’t cry
in the elevator, while you clutched

my wrist and chatted
with a kindly neighbor.


Dad, do you remember,

the relatives from the village came to visit
us in the city and, as a gift, brought us a live chicken.

For days, the doomed thing lived
behind the bathroom door, its legs tied in a knot.

You refused to kill it.
I can’t, you said.  


Katerina Stoykova-Klemer’s first poetry book, the bilingual The Air around the Butterfly / Въздухът около пеперудата (Fakel Express, 2009), won the 2010 Pencho’s Oak award, given annually to recognize literary contribution to contemporary Bulgarian culture. She is the author of the chapbook The Most (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and Indivisible Number (Fakel Express, 2011, Bulgarian only). Katerina is the editor of the anthology Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems (Accents Publishing, 2011). Her poems have appeared in publications throughout the US and Europe, including The Louisville Review, Margie, Adirondack Review and others. Katerina's latest full-length poetry book, The Porcupine of Mind, was released in May 2012 by Broadstone Books. Katerina is the founder of poetry and prose groups in Lexington, Kentucky, that have been meeting since early 2007. She hosts Accents—a radio show for literature, art and culture on WRFL, 88.1 FM, Lexington. In January 2010, Katerina launched Accents Publishing—an independent press for brilliant voices.