You’ve had enough.
You plan a trip to the tundra.

You want to stand
on a barren Arctic shore
before an invisible ocean
on a moonless night,
mindful of nothing besides
your scratchy coat.

Death comes in, wearing mittens over his heart.
His ribcage protrudes through his torso.
He rattles the air, eager to start a skirmish,
only to retire into a hammock
and swing his bony legs in the air.

Death is ill. Death waves
the world’s most terminally boring flag.

“Hey Death,” you say, “can I make your day
sweeter somehow? Stop sulking,
Death! Make angels!”

Your lot in life is skydiving with the skylarks,
pomegranate slushie in hand.

My lot in life is being your commissar,
healing your warts,
being your bud.

Every morning, we get on the train together,
trade lychee custards.
Our alchemy is never to say goodbye.

We spin our vinyls infinitely,
and that's what fortifies us.

Don’t fall for Death’s lovesong,
steel yourself against the derecho of fruit flies
that make holes in our hulls.

Stave off the tundra.
Beware the feathers of its cardinals.
Linger here;
dare sin and repent.

Scan the ocean
like it’s a farmer's market
and hook the tilapias of the morning.



Originally from Moscow, Russia, Anton Yakovlev studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. He is the author of chapbooks Neptune Court (The Operating System, 2015) and The Ghost of Grant Wood (Finishing Line Press, 2015). His work is published or forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Hopkins Review, Fulcrum, American Arts Quarterly, Measure, The Nervous Breakdown and elsewhere. He has also directed several short films.