Illustration by Morgan Maurer, 2011
Day by day, the days dissolved into the simplest of cross-stitched requests.
The sky let herself go—a fistful of sleet, a leftover moon.
Looking down became a hobby which payed off the morning when I found
an unmarked house key and a poorly molded plastic soldier.
On the path by the train tracks, I taught myself to recognize the marks
made by a limp in snow, shuffle in snow, stagger through snow.
There were calls to field, long-distance. Also, catcalls from moving trucks.
Some days I drove by Every Bloomin’ Thing and was tempted to turn off
into the parking lot and march into the greenhouse, remove my scarf and gloves
and stand bare-chested, crying pothos, ficus until I grew moss or was dragged away.
Some days I reached for my turn signal but kept driving. Thus, the weeks looked
like this: Monday—small claims court, Tuesday—leaky vessel,
Wednesday—scratched laugh track, Thursday—ritual burial, Friday—
blank check, Saturday—strip mall, Sunday—closed concession stand.
Another refrain snagged in my mind like a hangnail on some sweater’s pilled knit—
lit from within lit from within it went as I watched other women emerge orange
into the winter night, the sky a contusion, the streets all slush and no action,
their backs to a borrowed summer, to the bright lights of Jamaica Me Tan.
Dora Malech is the author of two collections of poems, Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011) and Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser Press, 2009). Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Poetry, The Yale Review, Poetry London, American Letters & Commentary, and Best New Poets. She has been the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, a Glenn Schaeffer Poetry Award, and a Writer’s Fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. She has taught writing at the University of Iowa, Augustana College in Illinois, Victoria University in New Zealand, and Saint Mary’s College of California. She lives in Iowa City. “God Bless Our Mess” was first published in Chelsea, and appears in the collection Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011).
Read an interview with Dora here.