Four Poems

Natasha Kochicheril Moni

Mormon Metalmark, Apodemia mormo autumnalis
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
day rose

not as insect
but spirit

drifting soap-like
above Sol Duc River

they fell
color of grass

color of herons’ bills

gone diving—
he remembers from lectures

searches for names
cannot place them—

some morning
he will step

out of his head
take a net, find himself

palm over wooden
handle, eyes

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
looking, transplant
and keep it to yourself.

The mice rest
in your storage, a falling-
apart sleeping

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
Dosewallips River

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]

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