The moment midnight rings, you throw on your coat
and wear your hat at a deliberate angle.
It forms a solid unit with your face
and turns you into a Raphaelite portrait.
Out in the real world, skulls rise out of the snow.
Femurs and phalanges crack underfoot.
Maggots make waves in newly-thawed puddles.
Disconnected jaws hop across the street.
For half a block, we walk alongside each other.
I can almost hear the gears in your head:
“I have so many answers for you,” you think.
A maggot lands between your eyes,
your award-winning eyes.
You run a pussy-willow branch along your cheek.
Buds fall off one by one.
Originally from Moscow, Russia, Anton Yakovlev lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey and works as a college textbook editor. He studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. His work is published or forthcoming in The New Yorker, Fulcrum, American Arts Quarterly, Measure, The Raintown Review, Angle and elsewhere. He is the author of chapbooks Neptune Court (The Operating System, 2015) and The Ghost of Grant Wood (Finishing Line Press, 2015). He has also directed several short films.