Natasha Kochicheril Moni
Photo Credit: Bill Bouton
Nightstand Lover of Lepidoptera
Beyond Monarch he commits
species to mind
something like Azure, Metalmark
Fritillary, Dusky Wing
or Luna who for one
not as insect
above Sol Duc River
color of grass
color of herons’ bills
he remembers from lectures
searches for names
cannot place them—
he will step
out of his head
take a net, find himself
palm over wooden
above page line
toward possible flight.
There are times when it is best to forget
the mice in the closet, go
ahead and water the cactus
once more, ignore the violet screaming.
Tell your man his dieffenbachia
is dying, that you will steal
it when he isn’t
and keep it to yourself.
The mice rest
in your storage, a falling-
bag you meant to toss
becomes their summer
home, the waterline their super-
highway for those nocturnal times
you once absorbed in sleep. Sleep
is nothing. Sleep is for the meek, the violet
says to herself and wishes for a sip
from the cactus
that bathes on a sill too far away.
There are times when you will think
yourself wicked for all the ways you debate
extermination. Arm yourself in bed
with a copy of The New York
Times, even the mice will find
this threatening as they opt
for a sail on the Unicef
cards from the box
you never meant
to keep. Below your window
there are dogs, the color of spoiled
cream, and they dig
up your land-
lord’s garden, sweet
basil uprooted, withering.
Notes While Looking For Elk Antlers
Call your friend with marrow lust.
Elk antlers are dropping.
We’ll search the Dose.
Ready to arrest mice with similar notions,
we three bushwack. M uncovers the first treasure
decaying collie on the stick of its spine,
muddied red collar. You answer his whistle.
I see what you see.
Remove my Pentax, shoot.
Never did like dogs.
We separate, find each other in a mess
of fern, moss, no antlers. Too early: the chorus
of February. Before we leave you stumble on a bear.
Hit on the road, knocked over slope, skeleton divided
into ground, above Here, I will find claw, learn my fingers
like talon, grasp underneath the belly of desire, seize.
Massage School Translations
Sometime second term you will discover your sits
bones are ischial tuberosities—every tuberosity
is a protuberance, a process. And you will find ways
to hassle your Anatomy and Physiology
teacher, point to your nose and claim it
noseus process: a joke only a fellow
A+P student could enjoy. Sometime mid-second
term you will palpate for these ischial
tuberosities. On yourself and a partner
locate these bony prominences, remember to stay
away from the gluteal cleft. And you will
watch a room full of adults sitting on their
hands, some coping like cranes, one appendage
waving for balance, another diving underneath
a cheek, searching for solid below
flesh. Thankfully, this will precede the construction
men across the street, a host of workers sparking
fire to metal. Here you rely on earth, the process
of calcification, the mutual adjustments of language
from ass to ischial. There is a bowl in your
pelvis, it has been there no matter whether
you have acknowledged it, it holds
space for the adductors you never knew
you had, a family of muscles who flex.
Natasha Kochicheril Moni recently completed the Postbaccalaureate Premedical program at Mills College. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Web 2010 and Best of the Net 2009, published in journals including: Rattle, Verse, Indiana Review and The Pedestal Magazine and acknowledged as a semifinalist in Black Lawrence Press and Crab Orchard Review first-book competitions. Email: natashamoni[at]yahoo.com