top of page

Under the bed, the monsters grow restless.

Babushka tells me she hasn’t been sleeping well,

blames it on old age, a bad duvet cover,

the dreams. I’ve been searching, she says, for the last

hour. Do you know how hard it is

to find one that will fit right? Their bed

is small, So many choices! And has been

ever since we emigrated. She likes it

that way, the same size as where

there was no option

for a bigger one. The other night, I was thrashing

so hard, she must have thrown herself

against my grandfather. Dedushka had to

wake me. He must have been so shocked

by such a touch. Must have woken

afraid too. I ask who she was running from.

I rarely remember. It’s all such silliness,

she tells me, repeating

she has no idea

where they all come from. I’m always

trapped, trying to get out. Always failing.

But last night, We had a child with us,

age six, I think, (me the night we left?)

and they were shooting, bandits, shooting.

And again, trapped. She keeps repeating

how it all comes

out of nowhere. No way out. The shooting

everywhere. And I keep trying to escape. Repeating

there’s no reason for it. These dreams.

Old age. How she doesn’t understand.

When you dream

of monsters, I tell her, you know they come

from stories. From childhood. You know

they cannot hide under your bed, inside your closet, but she checks there, nightly, grateful

not to remember,

most mornings, at least.

Grateful, this past

isn’t hers.

And she believes it. There’s so much

online now. More beds and monsters, more

covers that don’t fit well or hide enough.

But how do I choose without touching, without feeling

the fabric? She believes in a softer linen,

believes that it will help her sleep.


JULIA KOLCHINSKY DASBACH emigrated from Ukraine as a Jewish refugee when she was six years old. She is the author of three poetry collections: The Many Names for Mother, winner of the Wick Poetry Prize (Kent State University Press, 2019) and finalist for the National Jewish Book Award; Don’t Touch the Bones (Lost Horse Press, 2020), winner of the 2019 Idaho Poetry Prize; and 40 WEEKS, written while pregnant with her now 7-month-old daughter is forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2022. Her recent poems appear in Poetry, American Poetry Review, and The Nation, among others. Julia is the editor of Construction Magazine. She holds an MFA from the University of Oregon and is completing her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Philly with her two kids, two cats, one dog, and one husband.


bottom of page