Maria [poem] by Catherine Doty

She rises from a nap in the dark apartment.
Rain quickens, the black glass gives her back herself,
her emptiness filling the frame.
She opens the window to cool her hands in the rain
and the ghost of the headache that sent her to bed
crooks a finger.

The medicines she would be well without do this to her.
Clomid, Pergonal, forcing her body’s weather.
She gauges the tides of her blood and coaxes lightning,
but the gold ring of ten years’ wearing will not conduct:
each month the doctors give her back herself,
her body betrays her with its flag of sorrow.

Boys’ names. Girls’ names. It’s time to start the supper.
She cannot tear herself from the open window,
leaves blowing through the ecstatic, undoctored world
as they’ve been born to, and the moon,
that docile yolk, not looking for trouble.

 

Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

[Refer: This poem put the editors in mind of KT Browne’s story “Iodinical.”]

Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Catherine Doty is the author of Momentum, a volume of poems, and Just Kidding, a collection of cartoons. She is widely published in journals and anthologies, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and The New York Foundation for the Arts.

Image by Andrew Mason