Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 17
Winter, 2015

Featured painting, Red tears fly in the sky by Iryna Lialko.

Featured Novel Excerpt
New Works

Tatyana Movshevich

Sugar-Coated Pineapples

Somewhere in the world there lies a land, where nights steam with heat and where my solitude has no borders.

I don't write about anything. Who needs words in an unknown Northern language? But images in my head remain.

They come again. It's only possible to escape them through words.

I'm not afraid of anything apart from words and the images they paint.

It's scary in the darkness of a resounding Tropical night. Bottomless night.

I wake you up. You drowsily whisper: 'It's just words in your head. Everything is fine. Sleep tight'. How can I explain it to you?

Perhaps, images should be born of night beasts, like Pegasus of Medusa's head.

But I wouldn't want that to be the case.

I'm memorizing things around me, so that one day I can tell someone about them.


A beautiful Burmese girl was dancing a traditional dance in front of a commission in a Thai school.

She was smiling, coquettishly scrutinizing the spectators. Everyone was admiring her dance. Everyone tapped to the beat.

Her name was Thura. She was the only Burmese pupil in the international project.

Thura was an excellent student and always came to class well-prepared.

After holidays she brought sweets to her teachers– sugar-coated pineapples and bananas, Chinese sesame rolls, mango and guava jelly candies.

They all knew what her Dad did for a living, but whispered about something else:

'One billion baht.

A palace on the other side of the border.

A swimming-pool lined with sapphires. I didn't see it for myself, but some students visited...


Dreadfully rich'.

And Thura in Burmese means 'sun'.

She is dancing and there are images spinning in my head. Images, which I cannot narrate.

A lunar eclipse is hanging over Mae Sot night sky like a round sparking log.

Rain without end and meaning. Rain that hasn't stopped for three months.

Life inside the rain, moldy clothes and pomegranates which grasp to thin, transparent branches.

Day market beggars.

One of them was a girl with expressive eyes. She was playing hide-n-seek with her younger brothers in between begging.

An American girl I knew once bought her brother an ice-cream. Afterwards he stood outside the café where we were sitting and waved at us for a long time.

Smell of rotting fish and dog fruit. Market smell. Flies cloud over food stands. I'm wading through crowds of vendors, women in longyis holding babies, trash collectors, buzzing teenagers. The crowd has no end, like the rain. I'm running late for lunch with friends.

The sun burns my skin through material and the heart is pumping.

Finally I reach the restaurant, shackle my bike and run in.

People in jeans and T-shirts peacefully sit on cushions reading. They drink lime juice and discuss world affairs in calm voices. Western voices.

Someone is eating pizza, someone has rice with vegetables.

Thura, lovely Thura, please dance some more! I'm still sorting through images reminding myself of Knecht.

You surely don't know how those two kids appeared in the jungle. The Karen accidentally came across them not far from their village.

They didn't speak Burmese or Thai, but Lao. Wonders, such wonders. Ask your Dad, maybe he'll explain.

Thai January smells of tangerines, April – of lychees and mangosteens.

June - of sweet pineapples, rain and mold.

Roses in our garden don't smell of anything. But they blossom all year round.

A Buddhist monk chided me for fidgeting an hour into meditation. I can't feel my legs. I need to fidget.

He says that I need to lose all attachment to my body. Then the pain will disappear.

And also the attachment to everything Earthly, everything I love, even to you. Can you imagine? To you...

A statue of an ugly chubby monk in a temple. That man was so handsome, that he wished to be pot-bellied and unattractive, so women would leave him alone with their love. Now he'll be meditating for Eternity.

Herbal smell in the monastery sauna. Sweet beans and naan for breakfast in a corner café. Foreigners, monks, Muslim Burmese men. They are all squeezed together behind little tables hoping there'll be enough of those wonderful beans for everyone today.

Coffee in this café is unusually sweet. They put sugar and condensed milk in it. And I thought that it's only us that have condensed milk. I couldn't get enough of it when I was little.

I'm beginning to forget life on the other side of the world. I like thinking about winter and snow.

The dance is coming to an end. Music stops and people applaud smiling sunny Thura jovially.

I can hear it beginning to rain again outside.

It's time to put on a poncho and ride home.

Tatyana Movshevich is a Russian writer and journalist living in London. Most of her short stories and essays are written in Russian. However, over the last few years she has started writing and publishing in English. Her most recent publication can be found on Litro Online.