person Natasha Kochicheril Moni, five poems

Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a 2018 Jack Straw Writer and the author of four poetry collections (The Cardiologist’s Daughter, Two Sylvias Press, 2014; Lay Down Your Fleece, Shirt Pocket Press, 2017; Nearly, Dancing Girl Press, 2018; A Nation (Imagined), winner of the 2018 Floating Bridge Press chapbook competition, forthcoming).


When Asked What You Know About Grief, You Remind Me

of me—that I don’t believe in umbrellas

or eggs or beets or anything

that could pass for an egg,

an umbrella, a beet.


You tell me there is a meadow beyond

the fence over there and how it disappeared

your dog—but that fence is falling,

has been in a perpetual state

of suspension since you and I have—

and you are allergic to fur.


You are in the middle of an omelet

without ketchup, only because there isn’t,

and you tell me grief is like this

as you point to your plate and I agree.

*First published in The Cardiologist’s Daughter (Two Sylvias Press, 2014)


When asked what you know

you tell me of a field above a hill

below a trail that keeps expanding,
how you never approached

the ocean, only collected
advances as others weeds.

You tell me the trail leads
no one. You remind me

of what migrates,
I remind you of wind

how it holds the red-tail
steady. You say current

is current, treading
inevitable—we are

featherless, our legs
relinquish. If you find

the barn empty where
the red finch sings,

if you find yourself
sudden as hunger

*First published in The Cardiologist’s Daughter (Two Sylvias Press, 2014)


You, Like the Fire Lilies at Fernkloof


Sometimes the structure must unhinge
in pieces, not one distinct

released over time.

Outside, a building begins
to fall into summer.

You watch what is scheduled.
Your daughter brings you

a pen, paper—says, “Show me.”
And you have always been in love

with the alphabet—those letters
steady as reason. You learn

to revise what escapes,
address what isn’t.


I have nothing
to offer, so I send you

thyme. Every orange
has fallen into another yard—

tired from resistance,
I collect the bone I am

cleaning. Overnight, remains
seep from what I name femur.

I pray the rust proves
the process is working.


If I walk the lake once, run
into you twice, must we—

the Canadian looms
and you, a lover

of birds, I have forgotten
to ask—I would rather

the cormorant sunning.


We were discussing what cedes,
the definition of what forces

—this is not what I would have
for you or you for yourself—

but ahead, I promise
a family of flowers,

what develops from ash,
rises from dust and you—

*First published in Magma Poetry


On the Way to an Undetermined Westerly Location, You Pause on the Eastern Shore

The summer after the summer we graduated
with degrees, you drove three states

south to collect me
from the fourth of July

and I had prepared
some summer fruit—

maybe nectarine—installed it
in a crust with apricot and you

led me toward my own
deck into the hazy blanket

of night that kept the crickets
singing, those bugs with lanterns

doing what they could to punctuate
the sky and you with your undeniable

grin, a slice of something sweeter
than what I could concoct—

we were the bud and the branch
and the westward leaning

the promise of continued
continental heat.

*First published in Eat this Poem contest anthology


To Church, To Market

Who couldn’t fall in love
over nectarines

two chins cupping juice
the confluence between

jaw/jaw peach/plum his/her
palm atop palm.

Here in the market, stand
how many ways to kiss

over corn, make church
in the hollow of strawberry.

Find yourself with the young
dahlia grower and find yourself

behind tent. Himalayan berry
in reach. Thorns may seek

your hands, offer them
as you would before Easter.

For now, there is river
enough for cleansing.

Whiskey, like summer
in your teacup.

*First published in Sirenlit

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