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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.

Party Games

                        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 instead, with one strike
against it split the stick

in half to jagged dagger
in her

fists. The donkey gently swayed
within reach, barely grazed

and staring straight ahead with the conviction
inherent to its kind at the horizon

that a gaze
implies,

paper mane fluttering in the breeze of a near miss,
belly ballasted with melting chocolate kisses,

drawn grin belying its
thingness, rictus

of ritual and craft. She's grinning
too, and laughing, regaining

her balance,
planting her feet in a samurai stance.

She brandishes her splinter.
There's no harm in letting her

take another turn
without turning

her around again.
We think we know how this ends,

how good it feels to play at this,
violence and darkness,

the beast
that harbors something sweet.

Originally printed in The Hopkins Review. Copyright © 2015 by Dora Malech. Used with the permission of the author.

Originally printed in The Hopkins Review. Copyright © 2015 by Dora Malech. Used with the permission of the author.

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

As if the lucky might ride it to shore
while the others go under.

Some dogs make for higher ground,
spurred by a shake or a sound
in a frequency to which we never tuned.

Dogs’ ears rise now
to the scream of the still-black screen,
the pitch before the picture.

Breaking

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

 

He who thus considers things in their first growth and origin, whether a state or anything else, will obtain the clearest view of them.
—Aristotle, Politics (translated by Benjamin Jowett)

 

Look out across
the ridges of trees
flushed red
as if holding