"Morphine"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Dec. 15 2009 7:28 AM

"Morphine"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear  Mira Rosenthal read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.
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The window to this world opened again
as the drips slowed, and she became
whippy as a sheet of glass improperly
annealed, ready to smash at any
indefinite touch in a whining matrix
of stresses, the bed frame a museum box
where she lay, encased as a mummified
kestrel tailed with a fleece of fetid cloth
laid out by the mongoose (pharaoh's rat)
cradled in the nook of a dead arm,
and her eyes were intensified as soup
with beef bouillon and parsnip, potato,
celery ends, the candor of bread and butter
to swallow the fact of what happened.

The line "whippy as a sheet … of stresses" is adapted from Gravity's Rainbowby Thomas Pynchon.

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Mira Rosenthal's poems and translations have received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the PEN American Center. She is the translator of The Forgotten Keysby Polish poet Tomasz Rozycki and a Ph.D. candidate at Indiana University.

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