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Dora Malech

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Dora Malech

Dora Malech is the author of 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.

by this poet



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


In my favorite version, the man recites the alphabet
over and over, and when asked, he says he is praying.
He admits he lacks the words, but says perhaps if he provides
enough letters, God can piece his purpose back together.

The word is kavanah, translates to concentration or

                  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