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About this poet

Dora Malech is the author of Stet (Princeton University Press, 2018), Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011), and Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser Press, 2009). She is the recipient of a Writer’s Fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Center, a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, and an Amy Clampitt Residency Award. She lives in Baltimore, where she is an assistant professor in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

Director's Cut

Opening shot: morning. Mid-May. Mid-maybe,
misgiving, mistake, mid-take your time repeating after me
so long, so longing, lost and short of breath. Start
to finished lines means each between-the-line by heart

where hem reacts to haw—close shot—the big to-do list,
lights and stunts, month and mouth made-up to fit
the ending. Try the goodbye on for size. Lather, rinse,
repeat sweet nothings, catch phrase and a slow release.

The shower scene fades to soliloquy, last forwarding address
on the saloon soundstage, fired blanks, ketchup on a blouse,
then aftermath and ever after. I have to say,
the camera loves you when the credits roll and you play

dead. Fast forward and you flail out like my marionette.
Rewind, you ride right backward toward me out of that sunset.

From Say So. Copyright © 2011 by Dora Malech. Reprinted by permission of the author and Cleveland State University Poetry Center.

From Say So. Copyright © 2011 by Dora Malech. Reprinted by permission of the author and Cleveland State University Poetry Center.

Dora Malech

Dora Malech

Dora Malech is the author of Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2010) and Shore Ordered Ocean (Waywiser Press, 2009).

by this poet

poem

                        Might night right sight?
                                                —Andrew Joron

The first thing she did after we blindfolded her
and turned her in circles by her shoulders

was lunge
for where she thought her target hung

and hit tree trunk

poem
                  I snap the twig to try to trap
the springing and I relearn the same lesson.
You cannot make a keepsake of this season. 
Your heart's not the source of that sort of sap,
lacks what it takes to fuel, rejects the graft,
though for a moment it's your guilty fist 
that's flowering. You're no good
poem

A long-gone hand behind this scrap of map
dips the brush into red lead again
and lifts the wet tip up to fly across
an ocean and touch down in the unknown
where it emblazons its best guesses, draws
ornate conclusions in the far shore's sand.

Now, as ever, dawn illuminates
the