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The Kisser

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As in, in the, of course. The body knew
the drill by now. Was are we there yet and then
never been so, then so long. Heart tied
with twine, with shorthairs, trip wires—whispered that bind.
Drew the short straw, scared herself apart
to spit-sweet shards and into time that counted
backwards from two lips ago. Said done
is done and is between me and those teeth.
Some little story about dignity.
We’re there yet. Said trussed me. Body the white flag,
body the pulley. Hoist up and sang to beat
the heart back down again—stick-stone, stick-stone.

Source: Poetry (November 2010)

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

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The Kisser

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  • 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 Say So (2011).

    Malech has taught writing at the University of Iowa; Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters in Wellington, New Zealand; Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Augustana College; and Saint Mary’s College of California. She lives in Iowa City, where she writes, draws, teaches, and coordinates the Iowa Youth Writing Project, an arts outreach program for children and teens.

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