Miriam O’Neal – Two Poems

Miriam O’Neal‘s work has appeared in AGNI, Blackbird Journal, Lily Poetry Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and many other journals. The Body Dialogues (Lily Poetry Review Books, 2020), was nominated for a Massachusetts Center for the Book Award. She also is a 2019 Pushcart nominee and was a finalist for the 2019 Disquiet International Poetry Prize. A portion of her translation of Italian poet, Alda Merini’s, Rose Volanti appeared in On The Seawall, in Fall of 2019. Her newest collection, The Half-Said Things, will be out from Nixes Mate Books in April 2022.

A Brief History of the Letter R in October

The Normans liked me pent-
ultimate― languorous behind the swelled b,
that little eh tripping off my bridge of vibrations
shaking the tongue out of its complacency.

Oh, I counted then; a season’s marrow in my sound;
deer, harvest, fresh straw for the beds,
butcher, reaper, heavy crocks of mead―

Then the Saxons captured me and stripped me;
threshed and chased me out beyond that suckling e,
from where I curved under—stinging burr,
final furl of sound.

And nothing beyond me
but the numbered day,
the round red moon, her dwindling haunch,
another year tumbling down a burn.

Lyric Heart

On the day you were born,
the doctor said the mother must,
accept the needle in her spine.

Eighteen and too late
to go back, I found my way
in the narcotic dark.

to you, swimming the new edge
born between us, my milk-hard
breasts calling your name.

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