Natasha Kochicheril Moni
Photo Credit: Matt MacDonald
We speak of water
for Ilya Kaminsky
and he raises
a glass, gestures
with his free
arm as if a water
fowl is being
raised from within
(this is California, Southern)
—You must have water—
I am filled I might tell
him of the many
nights I have been dreaming
of Fabergé how dancing
on eggs in dream is more
how floating is more
plucking feather after (invisible)
feather from one’s throat
irritates the esophagus
The truth is
I have been speaking
who knows about double
osmosis He tells me what
becomes of fluids
before preserving before the viewing
about water after water
where drains in morgues
how California is
the great recycler
The truth is I don’t know this yet
The truth is I am not
thirsty The truth is
like separating egg from apricot
The Cardiologist, his daughter cradle a model
skull—they’ve left hearts behind years ago for osteo-
cytes, sutures: sagittal, coronal—
sockets whose purpose is stationary
grace, how to hold what fills
how to balance what adheres.
The Cardiologist, his daughter love to learn
the language of mater: dura,
the sound CSF
would make if it were
external, how not
rapid but river
one flow sub-
When I Approach my Advisor for Advice on How to Move Forward With Greater Ease After a Bumpy Start of Going Premed in My Thirties, He Performs a Well-Rehearsed Soliloquy
Every year there are those who fall.
He draws me a curve—
epinephrine on the x, performance on the y.
A straight line to the top where some—
he references me—go over.
I imagine the remains,
the class of forty trimmed
extra length in the row below
the Periodic Table, the ease with which
legs stretch in the presence of space.
He has never performed surgery,
never cleaved anything but a hypothetical
student from the breast of Postbacc
status, never attended
himself, but he is an expert
of probability. Vex one student
and observe wilt under scrutiny.
Take three quizzes and don’t call me.
I would bottle it if I could—he speaks
of success, those shy of adrenaline
junkies—I would be rich.
I think of my father with only three
dollars upon immigrating. Practicing in his native
country, the requirement of redoing his residency—
the subsequent years of specializing, cardiology.
My father thinks of me, my advisor thinks.
The Cardiologist’s daughter is concerned
with needles, the thought of what keeps
blood fixed—what accounts
for system failure, a heart spilling—
what blurs on screen
a mitral valve prolapsing.
She learns to mind
adjusts to right side
reduces intake of sugar
caffeine. The cardiologist’s daughter
feels so much, removes
tags from sweaters
will not stand anything approaching
her throat—remembers the time
when D. slapped a bee clear
into her back—the sting
she had never felt
like needle, more like twinge.
The instructor not believing
her calmness, taking
ten minutes to notice
stinger through flesh.
The Cardiologist’s daughter
is complicated. She has a thing
for discovery, keeps a collection
including the bear
claw, countless bones,
something potentially human.
She would have the complete
skeleton, if she could afford—
She has made peace
with weird, has a pink
dot on her i.d., sees
herself on that metal
table while waiting
at checkouts—those tabloids—
so less appealing. Called
morbid, she cannot help
a family that served
obituaries with cornflakes
longer than she has been drinking
her coffee near black.
She fills herself with herself
as a baker would install a pie
with nectarine—there are places
where the color blurs and she forgets
outer for inner. They call
her edgy and she says I am
regardless, concentrated with core.
On an Interview to Rent Space from a Chiropractor,
I Discover a Mutual Admiration for Handling Skulls
for the Benson family
He says I’ll just be
a minute and disappears beyond
the door marked Employees Only.
In the room labeled A, I turn
to the erase board that spells
the definition of something kinetic,
as the doctor returns.
His fingers lace
a human skull. Can’t get these
anymore, he claims and what
others leave, I seize.
How did you? I ask and he tells me
A religious sect in India had no problem
selling these; only problem was people left
their bodies more quickly.
I trace the parietal
suture below my finger. How young, I think
and he responds how neatly ossified, how not old and I try
not to think of family and I think of family as I speak
the tongue of sutures, what seals
bone to bone what breathes if given
He tells me
of his daughter as he wings
open the gates of the teeth, his daughter
pre-med for dentistry, she will inherit
this. It will be necessary.
We close with the orbits—a simple communion, we sip
from their thinness, tip the skull to locate light.
Natasha Kochicheril Moni, a naturopathic medical student, writes and resides in the Pacific Northwest. Her first full-length collection, The Cardiologist’s Daughter, is forthcoming from Two Sylvias Press this Fall 2014. For more information regarding her work or upcoming readings, please visit her website. Email: natashamoni[at]yahoo.com