Just Chew, Damn It

︎︎︎ Yulia Aleynikova

︎ July 8, 2021

You haven’t been practicing the chewing
I showed – disoriented, again, in between

your woman’s falling in and out of love like a berry
on a tree, always a bit out of reach - you must hover

in the air without hucking off the fence, caught
in stillness. I have had enough of your whining like that.

The only thing that can save you is the bean soup.
My studies, as a slow eater and your student,

gave me the authority to say:
you have already digested that soup.

Now practice: take a bite of strawberry, close your eyes,
chew deliberately counting to twenty. You are

too bloated to do this because you haven’t done this.
So swallow the rejection. Cut out trying to impress her.

Just chew. I can always tell when you go too fast too
soon like a premature kiss on a first date, bare chest.

Yes, I know you are lost. But didn’t you agree
that if you hear my jaw’s proper movements

you won’t hear yours? And stop
checking your bloody phone, damn it! Just chew

the sound of mucus running down your throat
and call me next week on an empty stomach.

Yulia Aleynikova
was born and raised in a Siberian town nobody knows. Her work has appeared in Filling Station Magazine, Event Magazine, The Gyroscope Review, The Columbia Journal for their special Women History Month online issue, and recently in the Shanghai Literary Review and Room Magazine. She currently lives in Spain where she’s inspired by fruit and cheese to create things like mascarpone mousse and Tarot card spreads for friends’ birthdays.