Sunday Jun 07

Mohn Slate Poetry Emily Mohn-Slate's recent poems appear in Tupelo Quarterly, The Adroit Journal, Cimarron Review, Rogue Agent, Indiana Review, and elsewhere. She was runner-up for the 2014 Indiana Review Poetry Prize. She teaches writing at Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA. You can find her here


The Ant’s Small Face

Let me sing of the ant
who this morning moved
across linoleum, black cast,
hollow-cheeked, weaving
away from the avalanche
of my folded paper towel.
Let me show you how
I brought my hand down
hard, regretting briefly
what had to be done.
Let me swing open
my cupboard half full
of salty things, scrounge
for what I want.
In half-light, another ant
weaves up the fake
Tiffany lamp, scrambles
high knees over
dragonfly wings.
I’m too tired to kill it.
I know it will take
whatever sweetness
it finds back over this
lit up patchwork hill
to others who will
share the loot.
But first let me take
its nervous face
in my hands and ask
it to show me how
to keep going
when the hand
of something immense
hangs above.

Woman as Column, Fitzwilliam Museum
“Will Nigeria’s abducted schoolgirls ever be found?” -- BBC News, May 12, 2014

What made her particular is lost. She towers
above the room with sunken stone hair,

the temple roof vanished from her head.
Buried in a dung heap up to her neck,

her people planted her deep to help grow
their crops. Before the professor wrenched

her out, he bribed the Turks in charge,
traded a telescope for her generous body.

Off a cobbled Cambridge street, priestess
of Demeter’s cult, stock-still, bleak lips shut,

she watches us among mouthless strangers
and water pitchers, a Gorgon head

between her breasts her only working eyes.
Just having a body can be deadly.