Delivery Rhyme

By Dora Malech b. 1981 Dora Malech

For Alyssa

As anyone
is apt to, you began as someone

else’s symptom. As in
other beginnings: drawn lots, blood,
some dancing on the heads of pins

and inside needles’ eyes,
cellular revelry,

of microscopic

turnstiles. Lucky guest,
grist, leapt

long odds to spark
the tinder in the dark.

Then, the subcommittees met:
made merry in duplicate, triplicate

and so on, much of themselves, divided
and divined and concurred.
All sides insides, pre-ambulatory
perambulation meant: sure

ambit, short orbit
in a warm aquarium set

to the muffled music of a single sphere.
As in other beginnings: parting seas, the future’s
violent egress, screams and sutures,

aftermath’s average agony
on umbilical belay

but soon to solo, unfold all
those origami limbs to test
the inevitable debutante bawl.

Wrest from the nest
and the rest is you, dear:
dressed for the bright lights
in bits of my sister.

Source: Poetry (November 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2010
 Dora  Malech


Dora Malech grew up in Maryland, and earned a BA in Fine Arts from Yale and an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her awards include a Clapp Fellowship from Yale, Capote and Teaching-Writing Fellowships from Iowa, a Glenn Schaeffer Fellowship, and a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. Malech's poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, Poetry London, and elsewhere. She is the author of Shore Ordered Ocean (2010), and . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Dora Malech

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.