Monday Jul 22

RosenthalMira Mira Rosenthal, a past fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and Stanford University’s Stegner Program, publishes work regularly in such journals as Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, Harvard Review, PN Review, A Public Space, and Oxford American. Her first book of poems, The Local World, received the Wick Poetry Prize. Her second book of translations, Polish poet Tomasz Różycki’s Colonies, won the Northern California Book Award and was shortlisted for numerous other prizes, including the International Griffin Poetry Prize. Her honors include the PEN Translation Fund Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies. She teaches in Cal Poly’s creative writing program.

Double Negative

I fixate on the grammar of it, this missed miscarriage,
my failure to feel something amiss, the rudder                 

of silence steering far and against naming the percentage
to which I now belong. I want to dismiss the gender

of the situation, be free, like the doctor, to package
the facts and how little is actually known per

the female body’s instructions. It holds in storage
so many hormones that morning sickness persists

past the withering back, my breasts still swollen
with tenderness, two double negatives that nag

with each step about what they equal, so amateur
are they in their diction, talking of equivalence

to gravity, with its give and take, and swaggering
as they walk on this earth, as if I’m not even here.

California Drought

The pasture’s covered with so much dust, the cattle
won’t eat. I take the drive alone down the coast—

what else is there to do. A fire has dismantled
the trees, but cows are drawn to the charred ghost-

like stumps anyway, moved, perhaps, by a fractal
pattern invisible to us, or some basic need for a post

to cluster around—such doe-eyed stupid chattel.
It’s close now, the orchard where we did most

of our playing, the stream where we once floated
moss boats and tested the depths of the darkest

parts with our sticks. Everything was findable
back then. Just root around in the shallow mud

to see what comes of digging. But the smartest
of us knew that’s how trouble happens in fables.