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Dora Malech

BPR 42 | 2015

Dora Malech is the author of two books of poems, Say So and Shore Ordered Ocean. Her poems have appeared in publications that include The New Yorker, Poetry, and Tin House. She is an assistant professor in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

For their kind, not a moment’s doubt.
Unwavering devotees,
they never hesitate for lack
of ideology.

I know I’m neither first nor last
of my kind to admire
the way they aim at radiance
and take for their last pyre

the first open flame. A shadow
in shadows at their rite,
I am, as always, paid no mind,
as I illuminate

nothing. The wordless watchword must
closer, closer hum
from the heavy place in their weightless
bodies, the tripped alarm

silenced only as the scales fall
singed from their whole selves.
I’ll wipe, again, their dust and ash
en masse from sills and shelves.

Misguided still means guided somewhere,
still means. Great Light,
I’ll trade you all my lofty thoughts
(never aloft) and bright

ideas (always unlit) and credos,
edicts, theorems, tired
metaphors of moths-to-flames
for my pair of wings on fire.