Naomi Falk

Mavka’s Reckoning (2021)

Content warning: violent imagery, knives

I’m a ghoul in the street lurching down toward my cave at night. Sarin falls from my sleeves into the grates don’t follow me I will deteriorate your pitiful body from the inside out side of the iron gate is frozen with the chill of an early autumn wind. Always loved the season ’cuz somewhere all grows bulbous and bountiful: a handful of patent blackberries or a field of entangled squash. All of that is far away. Twilight glare of car leaves too. Did you see what I was carrying in my bag? Switchblade longer than the unlovable shaft of your cockled ratback on the sidewalk I step over and swiftly peer behind to see what’s emerged. Here’s the thing: we—the collective we of women, all kinds of women—weren’t scared to be alone or even of you. We have much worse fears that relate to our great powers, to what we have the strength to do to ourselves. A taser or a spray should be the least of your worries. Nail sharpened to a cruel point on the edge of a screaming train car will slit ya more quickly than you can reach up my skirt. I have experienced no mercy nor will I shower it upon you. This sterling-ringed fist has been balled in fury for years. Try not to let nightfall worry me but sometimes I slip up. Then sometimes I sing along to Ravel down Bushwick Avenue at three in the morningtime is lovely and the only time when the evil within me simmers and cools. I dream of walls and cameras. Rising at seven on a good day. Rain in my teacup. Billowing of the inky chest I go to rest my hand upon. Stunning and quiet morning. Have almost forgotten what it is like to feel any way other than this.

About this work

As the streets began to quiet with the coming of fall in Brooklyn, Naomi Falk had been thinking once more about walking alone at night, and about how women of all kinds face different fears and different levels of safety. At the oneiric memory of once-palpable fear, and of how the light of the day brings a change of perspective and the ensuing rage to confront things that are unspeakable under scarier twilight moments.

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