The Body Dialogues
Birth Day Already missing the weight of her lade, she becomes an empty crib. The burden of making replaced by empty space. If she is lucky the child slides like a christened ship, to waiting waters and loosed like the bottle’s broken neck, her body pours what’s left into attending hands.
Gender Studies When he is four my son tells me he’s had a past life. I was a dresser, he reports. And I had 3 drawers. And if one of my drawers was open I was female. And when all my drawers were closed I was male. He doesn’t say what this means, seems to think it’s all been explained.
The only time my father fell into my arms was the morning my mother died He was old testament—the only man in a room full of women, in a house full of broken. As I gathered him up he cried, I never thought I wouldn’t go first. then sagged back toward the couch where my sisters caught him and sat him down. On the phone the undertaker asked, how soon do you want to see the body? while the ham my mother had baked the night before laid the taste of mustard and brown sugar on our tongues.
About the Author
Miriam O’Neal’s first collection of poems, We Start With What We’re Given, was published by Kelsay Books in 2018. She is a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee and was named a Notable Poet for the 2018 Disquiet Literary Prize. Her translation of Italian poet, Alda Merini’s, Poema della Croce, was recognized in 2007, by the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA). Her poems and reviews have appeared in AGNI, Blackbird Journal, North Dakota Quarterly, Passager Journal, Southern Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts.