The Marriages: The dybbuk

Come out

of my throat

come out

of my chest

I want

to hear

my own voice

what is it

you want

from this shtetl

my bed

what is it

you want

from within me

please come out                       

I want to


what I want

to touch


I need

to be




now listen to the words

when I breathe—you couldn’t

when I was before you—listen to the sounds

echoing in your ears

the pulse

the hollow of


you remember

your knuckles darkened with potato dust

and now you’ll remember

my darkness inside your neck

those nights

sweet dusky wood

and snow sifting through knotholes

like splinters

know I can reach everywhere now

your brain and your heart


is ecstatic

keep me—hold me in your wet hollow chest

my earthly walk


you’re mine—my steps on the dirt

yours—I like it here




Gemma Cooper-Novack is the author of We Might As Well Be Underwater (Unsolicited Press, 2017). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in more than forty journals, including Glass, Midway Journal, and Lambda’s Poetry Spotlight, and been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net Awards. Published chapbooks include Too Much Like a Landscape (2015, with Warren Tales) and “Bedside Manner” (The Head and the Hand, 2020). Gemma’s plays have been produced in Chicago, Boston, and New York. She was a runner-up for the 2016 James Jones First Novel Fellowship, and has been awarded artist’s residencies from Catalonia to Virginia and a grant from the Barbara Deming Fund. Gemma is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Literacy Education at Hobart & William Smith Colleges.


Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

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