Monday, November 20, 2023


 Three Monobons by Carol Dorf


Named Lucky   


We had a dog named Lucky, too, I want to tell Victoria Redel who according to rumor is a neighbor of someone I know online. I could tell Joe, who I do know in person, My mother also had a Masters in Denial, but I don’t tell him now because he’s recovering from surgery and is in another state entirely. That masters didn’t do my mother a lot of good, or maybe it did. Denial was no longer necessary in her last five or maybe it was ten years. She forgot how to use the remote for the giant TV, so if her husband didn’t sit her in front of a Discovery Show, she spent the time looking into one of my grandfather’s paintings, telling me she was travelling around the region, or heading to a concert at the Robin Hood Dell. Who did she like? Mozart, Shubert, something romantic. There’s another painting of her practicing violin as a girl, intent, and somewhere far away from the small room in the apartment above her parents’ store. The dog, that was our dog who wasn’t lucky at all because when we moved to the suburbs, my parents decided we needed a more dignified dog and took poor Lucky to the farm. Actually that dog’s name was Tricksy, and he managed to gnaw his way through my illustrated copy of Oliver Twist.


Much later pages floated onto our deck after the Oakland Hill’s fire.





Invisible: Toots


As a teen all I wanted was to be invisible. Well that wasn’t all I wanted but it would have been a good start. I didn’t want anyone to notice my jeans had a J on them instead of a W. I really didn’t want that boy behind me in French class to call me Toots, and banging my chair into his dangling arm was of limited use. I didn’t want anyone to call me fat. I didn’t want my geometry teacher to notice all my missing assignments, the band leader — anyway you get the idea. And before that, in childhood, I didn’t want to be the one in trouble when my father started roaring. So in middle age, I was reasonably well prepared to keep my disability invisible, though when people asked directly I couldn’t stop talking. Later, when my walking faltered, my disability became more visible, though it attribution remained slippery. I wanted to inscribe, fat is the least of my problems, in my medical record. This morning, at the pool, the early morning waterwalkers and I paced each other. Invisible to anyone besides each other we moved through that forgiving medium.


Light shifts in small waves, steam rises, one dramatic splash.





Notes on Knowledge


Sometimes empowerment is illusory, she said. I said, I read Annie Dillard and Thoreau writing from their ponds, the knowing they found in living with the seasons. I can’t stop myself from pointing out in one case the car she drove to the cabin; in the other case the woman leaving a stewpot on the front steps along with a bundle of fresh clothes. What would responsible reporting on the natural world look like? We could be Gretta Thunberg sailing across the ocean in a ship who knows how many rich people subsidized. That desire to set oneself apart the way in middle school each brand of shoes set aside a different crowd. Am I trivalizing the strength it takes to contemplate decline? Not the old age is for sissies idea of decline, but the loss of species, the closing off of possibilities. I read today that a thousand years ago, Northern Europeans hunted blue whales to extinction off their waters. 


in the pond/tadpole to frog/unexpected





Carol Dorf is a Zoeglossia fellow, whose poetry has been published in several chapbooks and in journals that include About Place, Cutthroat, Unlikely Stories, Rise Up Review, Great Weather For Media,Slipstream, The Mom Egg, Sin Fronteras, The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Scientific American, and Maintenant. They are founding poetry editor of Talking Writing, and taught math in Berkeley.

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