Mihaela Moscaliuc & Nickole Brown

Mihaela Moscaliuc

Thursday, June 3, 2010, at 7:00 pm, poets Mihaela Moscaliuc and Nickole Brown will read work from their books as well as new poems. ($2-5 sliding scale.)

*Please note our new starting time.

Born and raised in Romania, Mihaela Moscaliuc came to the United States in 1996 to complete graduate work in American literature. Moscaliuc’s first poetry collection, Father Dirt, won the Kinereth Gensler Award in 2008 and was published by Alice James Books in 2010. Her poems, reviews, translations, and articles appear in The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, TriQuarterly, New Letters, Poetry International, Arts & Letters, Pleiades, and Soundings.

She teaches at Monmouth University and in the low-residency MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation at Drew University, and lives in Ocean, NJ.

Nickole Brown

Nickole Brown’s books include her debut, Sister, a novel-in-poems published by Red Hen Press, and the anthology, Air Fare, that she co-edited with Judith Taylor. She graduated from The Vermont College of Fine Arts and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council. She worked at the independent, literary press, Sarabande Books, for ten years. Currently, she is the Co-editor for the Marie Alexander Series in Prose Poetry at White Pine Press and works as the National Publicity Consultant for Arktoi Books. She lives in Louisville, KY, where she is Lecturer at the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University and teaches at the low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Murray State.

Read Nickole Brown discussing her poem, “Footling,” at How a Poem Happens.

*

ONTOGENY by Nickole Brown

It’s the science of everyone’s earliest days
first plastered across the cover
of Time in 1965: unborn children
lifted from their dark organ
warmth with scalpel and scope, carbonation
blown to float them up
to the flashing fiber optic eye.

Nine years later even the first
footsteps on the moon was old
news so it was no big deal for a young
girl in Kentucky to flip the pages
tracking her swell from clot
to snail to kicking feet before labor brought
something substantial enough to make
a shadow, to recognize that shadow,
to fill an urn full of its own ash.

Not that mama ever cared
to look. You got fat, then you had a baby
was all the learning she sought, the rest
of what she needed to know was
hot rolled into her bleach blonde hair and
plucked into an arch, never once wanting
to read about her own bones that once began
growing outward from the middle,
hardening from the crosshairs out,
the origin of core implying an axis
of tough, the apple seeded central
with poison, her earliest memories deepest
and the least she’s likely to admit.
And she’ll tell you: back then,
you had to lay it down, let it go,

never mind what the doctor and schoolteacher
say, never mind that she came from a long line
of men who break things, of children
who hid under a bed, a tattletale stream
of urine making them easy for him to find.
She knows the worst of it, she knows everything,
but the weight of knowing must be shucked:
there are shirts that need starch,
shelves that need lining,
simple, dim salads to toss with iceberg and carrots,
jars of imitation bacon and milky dressing on the side.

Look in the garage, sister. Even it’s been cleaned
top to bottom, not a spider egg or rainbow
drip of oil in sight,
it is Godly, scrubbed spotless,
all our tears swept from every corner
with a cheap straw broom.

(With permission of Red Hen Press. All rights reserved.)

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