The Inaudible Sound of Your Lover’s Anxiety


Our bed has a man in it

He sighs deeply stretching his hand and pulls

The metal beaded string on the yellowing light outside the window

Again it is morning,

            And we have lain all night


            Mouths dry

I’ve borrowed pistols to protect

You from my feelings

Some of whom I have let loose

According to the protocols of the present study


Like the gasoline shimmers

Of a desert’s journey on camel back

To a village where our liaison is hopefully waiting with supplies

At least that was the thought that kept us going the last time we were here


The piano

            In my house

            Is dusty

                                    And full of mice

They play nocturnes


            To their own


Tails lifted in the mark of a question—


When I say something

Microscopic and stupid

I want to kiss your hands and say something imponderable


                        The way your lips pursed remind me of the roses

In the Russian garden

I used to visit

Before moving to this city of salt and religion

Much of it is transparent

And yet

            Defies all the attempts of my words

                                                            That dance insouciantly,

                                    As if they weren’t the potential assassins

Of everything I’ve tried to tell you

Between the few inches

Separating our heads

On the pillow

Trembling with anticipation I can no longer define

Or even pretend

That we are not the fragile coincidence

I have tried to document in my fieldnotes



How little I know of you

                                    Yet know somehow anyway


            To reach consilience

                                    With my many selves

                                                The numerous feelings depicted

In the spandrels of my imagination

Like the mysterious music you hear in a dream

Of a forest growing

                        At the bottom of an ocean on some planet with iridescent

            Undulating creatures that rumor has it

            Live on the vibrations the planet emits

From its trembling core

And how is it possible

That you will sign the consent form

                                    Even for a brief experiment

                                    When half my selves are like the soviet scientists

            Weary of the commissars

Bent on winning wars

                        Produced by paranoid models and questionable equations

I submit to you this document

Knowing full well that just last year one of my feelings

Kidnapped and interrogated the daughter of José Mujica, the president of Uruguay

And to think

                        They had

Studied the rare insects together 

In the caves of Terra del Fuego


I am 10 and 19 and 12 and 20 and 33 and 37 and 148

The majority of my names have died

                                                            Philosophically speaking

Many have been outlawed in 14 of the lower 48

And 7 are currently in the custody of the Chinese secret service

But here

Look at this one

Celebrated in the annals of the best journals

Depicted prominently on the facades of several leading university libraries

Another was the inspiration for two plays and a musical

In which over a hundred Icelandic school girls sing individual arias

To the accompaniment of a full orchestra

Of ancient Greek musicians

                                                Who play while simultaneously reciting

                                    Manifestos on the rivers of time

            Which are paradoxically solipsistic and infinite   


There is water

Running in your bathroom

The plastic cup of water


Hand me

Makes me

Want to kiss you

And beg the planet for forgiveness

            I wish I could give you the world and rid it of polyurethane

How can I be worthy of your love if I can’t even eliminate the petrochemicals

            Or in the very least pay off my mother’s mortgage

Most of my feelings would have me inhumed if they knew I was writing this to you

But it is late and I trust the young man I have endowed to memorize this note

Will deliver it without being discovered

            To say there is nothing left

                           To lose

                       Is always false

To say anything

Means you have

A great deal to lose

Not the least of which

Are the lips, tongue, and larynx

There are also all those things we do not have and yet are terrified of losing

Not the least of which is the love of a woman you barely know

                                                                                                And yet know, she is


The isomorphic valentine of your deepest desires 

Intrepid spy

Come to you with invaluable information:

Beneath the ardent lovers hides

The moon pale churning of the tides

They have remained forever true

Like the fierce mother kangaroo

The tomato plants sway under the moon pale breeze

Inside the cracked hull of the swimming pool

My heart is a mushroom, my desire is a cat watching the moths through the window

In the dream

I proffer you a hand in friendly supplication

                                                The other is holding the entomologist’s compound field microscope

                                    The other is playing the piano

                        The other is holding a scalpel

            The other is reflected in the mirror

In which I am your convert and scientist

Your lover and engineer 

I have made my grant proposal

To study your body and watch myself reflected in your eyes

To be the horse of your Hittite

The banana of your baboon

The silence of your hermit

The crispy green leaf of your testudine


My fragile fakir

watching the ripple in the mirror

My fragile fakir

Sleeping in your bed

My fragile fakir

My pony is stamping in the birches

And I’ve just caught sight of the Pinta and a band of riders on the horizon

My fragile fakir

When you turn your head

I have yet to tell you of the most beautiful things

In my lives

            Of the losses I can no longer remember

                        Disappeared along the shore

Face downward in the ferns

            My body—the naked trunk full of fieldnotes and rare specimens

                        I mean to use for the corroboration of my theories

For instance, June 25, 2015 reads:

You are a hero trying to unhitch your parachute

And I do not want you to stumble over me

And fall in a last embrace

Eventually forgetting me

As I have forgotten all my loves

Their statues lying on their sides

Half buried in the blue-green grass

And covered in orange lichen

I cannot change history, any more than I can change the feelings

Which haunt me like wraiths from 19th century novels

There is a weary alchemist at my door

With a long history of not making gold

He says that with my patronage, he might succeed 

In forging the perfect alloy

For that armor you spoke of 

© Mike Kravolich

Copyright © 2016, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.


Peter Golub is a Russian-American 30-something who once dreamed of the bright lights of the big city, but today spends most of his time in a damp, dark basement surrounded by cats who have likely infected him with toxoplasma gondii, a parasitic protozoan that causes altered behavioral states in humans, such as psychomotor and neurological disorders, which include depression, aboulomania, schizophrenia (Torrey et al. 2007) and impaired driving (Kocazeybek et al. 2009). Infected adult humans have shown an abnormal love of cats, reportedly watching four times as many cat videos as non-infected humans, and even tolerating the smell of cat urine (McConkey et al. 2012). Studies using the Cattell’s 16 Personality Factor questionnaire found that infected men scored lower on Factor G (superego strength/rule consciousness) and higher on Factor L (vigilance) while the opposite pattern was observed for infected women (Flegr 2007). This means that infected men are more likely to disregard rule and be more expedient, suspicious, and jealous. On the other hand, women become more warmhearted, outgoing, conscientious, and moralistic. These are all scientifically corroborated facts peoplethese furry little freeloaders are literally controlling our minds. Peter Golub could certainly be a bit less vigilant and nicer to his mother. 


Flegr, J (2007). "Effects of Toxoplasma on Human Behavior". Schizophrenia Bulletin, 33 (3): 757–760.

Kocazeybek, B, Y. Oner, R. Turksoy, C. Babur, H. Cakan, N. Sahip, A. Unal, A. Ozaslan, S. Kilic, S. Saribas, M. Aslan, A. Taylan, S. Koc, A. Dirican, H. Uner, V. Oz, C. Ertekin, O. Kucukbasmaci, and M. Torun (2009). "Higher Prevalence of Toxoplasmosis in Victims of Traffic Accidents Suggest Increased Risk of Traffic Accident in Toxoplasma-Infected Inhabitants of Istanbul and Its Suburbs," Forensic Science International,187 (1–3): 103–108.

McConkey, G.A., H.L. Martin, G.C. Bristow, and J.P. Webster (2012). "Toxoplasma Gondii Infection and Behaviour: Location, Location, Location,"Journal of Experimental Biology, 216 (1): 113–119.

Torrey, E.F., J.J. Bartko, Z.R. Lun, and R.H. Yolken (May 2007). "Antibodies to Toxoplasma Gondii in Patients with Schizophrenia: A Meta-Analysis,"Schizophrenia Bulletin, 33 (3): 729–36.