Monica Rowley

Monica Rowley


Enjoy our WTP Spotlights, notable selections featuring artists and writers from our Woven Tale Press magazine. To read the issue in full subscribe and you can also register on our site to enjoy our archive.


Monica Rowley teaches high school in Brooklyn, NY. Her poetry has appeared in the Irish literary journal The Ogham Stone; The Bread Loaf Journal; Yes, Poetry (online); and is forthcoming in Anti-Heroin Chic. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant and the Roxanne McCormick Leighton Fellowship for study at Bread Loaf.

Bone Science

From WTP Vol. VIII #3

Soon I’ll have the dead in my mouth
holding my teeth in place,

dental records the detectives might need to check
if I were to die an unspeakable death.

I think about this cadaver bone in my jaw:
What parts of a whole

did it lie in when it belonged to the living?
Was the body of its residence

a crook? A scribe? A ballerina?
Was its holder happy with his health?

Or did the woman-skeleton of this bone
cheat, in flesh, on her wife?

Will I change ever so slightly
after it’s grafted? Maybe

my atheist friends have it right:
dead when dead.  No transmigration

of another sewn into common diseased gums
by the periodontist good at her science,

using the dead’s parts
to keep me whole.

As I tongue the new stitches, glibly calling on
my own Yorick, I think with hesitancy

this corpse bone is important—
the implanted evidence illuminated in the x-ray

of my skull. I decide I must add this small bit
of the dead to my soul.

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