Concave Seats

by | Jul 21, 2023

In the Kairouan Style, Transposed in a Moderate Way (1914), Paul Klee.
Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Days that walk in slippers and
brush baby hair
did not hear fathers
tell other tall men I made
a mistake with
cigarette interruptions

her lilac dress suit and purse click
welcome asphalt and kindergarten
with puppets inherited over hands of
children who hadn’t heard

I am here behind the sofa with
candy wrappers and oozing yellow
don’t jump, there’s nothing left
of stuffing, hiding

I am here folded in your cubic
hands, three-sided mirror
multiplying prayer and rubbing off
floors and subtleties
glittering fly wings
inhaling windows

I am here on the carpet finding nails
and stains and hair and prebirth
love and two
that did not hear

Madina Tuhbatullina

Madina Tuhbatullina

Publab Fellow 2023

Madina Tuhbatullina is an international student from Turkmenistan and a creative writing MFA candidate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Madina’s work has been published or is forthcoming in 30 North Literary Magazine, Periphery Art and Literary Journal, Angime, and great weather for MEDIA’s annual anthology.

Paul Klee


Paul Klee (1879–1940) was a Swiss-German artist who taught at the Bauhaus school of art, design, and architecture. His works were influenced by expressionism, cubism, and surrealism, and he maintained a deep interest in color theory throughout his career. In the Kairouan Style, Transposed in a Moderate Way (1914) was inspired by Klee’s travels to Tunisia, and it represents one of his earliest ventures into fully abstract art.