The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2023

All Issues
MARCH 2023 Issue


One for Yes, Two for No

I needed the levity so
I said: If you can’t find the beat
under the medical gown, the shutdown’s become emotional for you. Then a lump
showed up. Minuscule, heart-adjacent.

Left my right brain. Gotta start somewhere.
First an * ectomy, then a simulation. The rest was a
blast leaving me with a burning
if all humans are mammals.
Did I at me.
One pandemic two pandemics
one is loud another is silent is
one replicates, the other meta-

a midriff footnote in the form of a rebus: picture of aster
+ image of risk

Which looks how
, you might ask.
Does it look like “an emotional complex
in an instant of time.” I look up,
accept cookies.

Dreams fill with holes. They recognize me.
I don’t. Fatigue the wrong
word but we’ll have to make
do. Eleven lead-filled minutes.

Love’s reckoning: “As large as I”
double quoted. Nausea as inchoate as the zero-
count jump from millimeters to centimeters.
.4 Measuring, sifting…

You do so little.

Ode to the indolent:
“Today I wrote nothing”
to go on quoting.

Languid is the day’s word.


Skirt the mind’s traps, the mind
being. A parabola. I go outside,
look up at the half-full moon that is a quarter
moon—half of a half visible, other half turned
away in perpetuity. How unlike me. The celestial.
The other one, turned off by the drive
towards an aesthetic object. Unclear
if what repels is the becoming
object or the becoming art.
Will you quit it with your all or nothing.
The poem I entertain under the quarter moon looking
like a half-full moon refuses to come back inside with me.
To find its stead I search for merism.


Mónica de la Torre

Mónica de la Torre’s books include Repetition Nineteen (Nightboat), The Happy End/All Welcome (Ugly Duckling Presse), and Public Domain (Roof). She co-edited Women in Concrete Poetry 1959–79 (Primary Information), received a 2022 Creative Capital grant and the 2022 FCA C.D. Wright Award for Poetry. She teaches at Brooklyn College.


The Brooklyn Rail

MARCH 2023

All Issues