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SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Moscow Road

by Tania Pryputniewicz

We’re turning the color of the seats in the Camaro
speeding down the wrong side of the street. It’s the year

of the divorce, the new man’s house, his rules, his chair,
his cuts of meat bleeding into butcher paper off-limits.

My brother fries up liver in defiance, blends protein
drinks with ground bull balls, works out at the gym,

disappears after he is caught kissing his girlfriend
in our mother’s new waterbed. I fought for this ride,

brought the city boys to the door so my mother
could ask their names and shake their hands, maybe

she read it would make them behave in one of the books
she kept on the back of the toilet, Cinderella Complex,

My Mother My Self. I read them too, Erica Jong’s
Fear of Flying and “zipless fuck” contextless

before sex. My best friend in the front seat wears no
seatbelt, the boy I’m crushed on next to me in the back,

cologne and gold cross on a chain I confuse with a holy
heart, Heart with the force of Jong on the radio belting

“Barracuda.” The boys pour us vodka as the amber
hulls of redwood trunks and green leaves in one

continuous blur pass punctured with spots of white
lights of oncoming cars. I pray to the Angel

of Death: Let me walk from this car, take me back
to my father’s house. I can see the cover of Life

after Life on his shelf, its Jackson Pollack splotch
of white a rough haloed orb like a cell dividing.


—Honorable Mention, the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize 2017; first published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2017-18 (Garden Oak Press, February 2018) and appears here with permissions from the publisher and the poet


SHJ Issue 18
Spring 2018

Tania Pryputniewicz

is the author of November Butterfly: Thirteen Writing Prompts Based on the Power and Creativity of Iconic Women (Saddle Road Press, 2014). Her collaborative micro movies feature poetry paired with the photography of Robyn Beattie and the music of Stephen Pryputniewicz. Three of those photo poem montages—She Dressed in a Hurry (for Lady Diana), Amelia, and Nefertiti Among Us—received the Juror’s Award for Best of Show (2D-3D 2012: Visual Poetry Works Inspired by Literature & Poetry) at San Joaquin Delta College (Delta Center for the Arts: LH Horton Jr. Gallery), and may be viewed online.

Her poetry and prose have appeared in Autumn Sky, Blast Furnace, Blood Orange Review, Chiron Review, Connotation Press, Extract(s), In Her Place, Journal of Applied Poetics, Linebreak, Literary Mama, Nimrod International, NonBinary Review, Patria Letteratura, Poetry Flash, Prairie Wolf Press, Prime Number Magazine, Salome Magazine, Silver Birch Press, Soundings East, Spoon River Poetry Review, Stone Canoe (online), The Mom Egg, Tiny Lights, Whale Road Review, and Writers and Lovers Café.

A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Pryputniewicz teaches poetry at San Diego Writers, Ink as well as online writing classes. She lives in San Diego with her husband, two children, and a Siberian Husky; and is now at work on her second book, The Fool in the Corn: Leaving Stelle’s Dreamfield, based on her childhood experience of living on a commune in Illinois.

Author’s website:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury