Alina Pleskova


On the more explicit app, flexible couples seek

a playful & adventurous third ;)

In a long-enough lull, a slanted logic

starts to resurface:

Rapport is nearly chemistry!

Typecast is close to a type!

Fringe normativity isn’t always predictable!

So on, before I recall the elusive to-dos:

Hold fast to radiance.

Enough with the bit parts.

Get in way over your head.

Shrugs are hardly anyone’s erotics.

It’s just, the signal cuts out when I shift

from pleasure vessel to bait, flint,

curio, companion animal, other.

When an end to longing is sensed,

what becomes of want’s largesse?

As a kid, I bit the insides of my cheeks

until the cartilage toughened,

or got on a bike & came back bloodied,

asphalt-flecked. Having punctured

the membrane between self & out-there.

Having dinged up my subjectivity good.

I grew into alternate diversions. Went further afield.

Wore shock absorbers nearly to the bone. & sometimes,

I nearly made out the gossamer link

from heart to cunt to sanctum.

In the data dump of past encounters,

thousands come up with a commonality:

a body’s semaphore motioning toward obliteration,

or at least a well-appointed waiting room.

Alina Pleskova is a poet, editor, and Russian immigrant turned proud Philadelphian. Her first full-length poetry collection, Toska, will be published by Deep Vellum in 2023. More at or @nahhhlina.