And Made of It

East, enter potter under 
whose hands the world 
turns clockwise. 
West, counterclockwise, 
say tradition meaning 
means nothing, 
no blown breath nor big pull. 
In the name of is what it is, 
sun casts the shadows 
as themselves for a change. 
To speak to into or to 
through this needs more 
than my little muscles. 
Perhaps a handle. 
An as if turned to music, 
slurry sieved to slip. 
Here are my hands 
for pulling the walls up. 
Here is the air 
will cause a wobble. 
Rib to tip in the direction 
of rotation, murmur, 
momentum, tell you 
What. I tell you What. 
Centred, I am ready 
for an opening. 
But for a throw of, 
or thrown off, or 
to or for or from. 
Kick throw repeat 
is my prayer 
for a pliable vessel. 
I have never seen 
a child unquiet 
while watching 
the wheel. 



My everything I say but don’t be silly. 
How could everything possibly be mine? 
The future’s on her belly in the dust 
Laying for the stagecoach sweet-talking the scope. 
The past? Don’t let me catch that sniveling 
Misnomer here. From now on I’m calling her 
The gone as in in the gone I could not know 
To hold you. If you were my and I your charge 
A life before as well I hope at least 
I had a fabulous hat and a language 
With which to say believe me. Maybe no stranger 
Than stepping from one room into another. 
Maybe I thirst. I’ll drink to in and out 
Of breath to excess to your last ash. 
Tale too tall for me to tiptoe reach 
The top shelf bottle there with our name on it. 
I don’t need to spill it spell it out. 
You know our name by now don’t you? My love 
As a prescribed burn a this hurts me more than 
A cause the cone to open. Welter swelter 
Split the deck of cards. Can’t predict king 
Or jack but that you’ll pull the black and I 
The redder riddles. If you are reading this 
You can’t be nearly close enough to me. 

You Are Here

Body’s gallon and a half of blood – he knew 
but hadn’t told me yet. Hung right, lurched 
over tracks. Said he loved Bartholomew – 
flipped, flayed, lugging his skin. The birches 
played yes-men, nodded off. Beyond the trees, 
a woman tried to teach her dog to sic. 
The sound of the jerked choke chain carried 
rattle of metal links. Claim dark led our lips 
to an undisclosed location. Branches heavy, 
fallen on a wire. Some train had an answer 
to define absolve, but too far off. See, 
we didn’t see the gun-shy stars until much later. 
Three gallons, good moon. Good dog, now sit. 
He touched his tongue to where my lip was split.

Safe Passage

Here is the cat. Here is the cradle. 
Here is the bird that cries to-do 
and where your daughter 
passed through the frozen season, 
the empty house. I love you 
in the film that collects on the table, 
on the windowpanes. Where she ran 
her fingers through your dust and frost. 
Here, the man with his goose and his fox 
reduced to a smudge with a speck and a dot, 
having safely crossed the river. 
In the fallen city, the surprise was 
what was not found, which was 
virtually anything. Porch guarded 
by a gun called Kindness. Small dogs 
at the screen doors, big dogs at the gates. 
We’ll hear what’s coming if it’s coming. 
Not alone, see, rather, beside myself, 
when all of my lines are lines of defence. 
When all of our best suits outfit the dead, 
same scale of one to stricken. The clauses 
include: stop-gap, sunset. Here, my straight 
face claiming victory, trimming the wicks 
to praise what is ours to re-ravel. 
Not felled city. Fallen. Where men 
no older than yourself stood in the sun, 
but trembling. We used to say my people, 
knew which wind would carry us away 
and which would take us home again. 
am speaking for myself. Don’t waste 
your breath. The dogs aren’t deaf, 
they’re trying to forget their names. 


Dora Malech received her B.A. degree from Yale University and her M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has been the recipient of numerous honours, including a Clapp Fellowship from Yale, a Capote Fellowship and a Teaching-Writing Fellowship from the Writers’ Workshop, and a Glenn Schaeffer Award. She led the Iowa Workshop at the IIML last summer, and will join the IIML as a primary MA co-ordinator in 2007.