Moira Egan

Contest Winner - 2nd Place

Moira Egan’s poetry collections are Cleave (WWPH 2004); Bar Napkin Sonnets (The Ledge 2009); La Seta della Cravatta/The Silk of the Tie (Edizioni l’Obliquo 2009); and Spin (Entasis Press, 2010, for whom she also co-edited Hot Sonnets, 2011). She lives in Rome and translates with her husband, Damiano Abeni. Recent translations into Italian include Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind and Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.

Hot Flash Sonnet

As if you’d spent all Roman afternoon
inside the cool embrace of marble walls
of some palazzo, and then, all too soon,
it’s time to leave, they’re closing, hall by hall,
so you step out onto the August street,
the white sun blaring down, asphalt echoes
of sticky, stinky, visible waves of heat.
Sweat pours from you but has nowhere to go.

Or like that dish of mutton vindaloo,
(remember how the waiter shook his head,
anticipatory sympathy for you,
misguided Anglo girl), then how it spread,
internal spice combustion, your blood no
longer blood at all, but habanero.

Sisters in Sweat Sonnet

If even Mr. Limbaugh knows it’s true
that women living in propinquity
will soon begin to cycle with the moon
in unison—ah, benison of fe-
male tendencies toward cooperation

(imagine our foremothers in their caves,
Cro-Magnon-crouching round each parturition;
all sisters, cousins, aunts caring for the babes),

then how come no one’s yet released the study
that shows that flashes, too, are a contagion?
We’re sisters in the sweat, hormonal buddies,
we swoon and flush, we peel our layers in legion.
We dress in gauze and veils, we’re Salomes
of menopause. Rush, look out for the waves.

The poems included in this issue are from a series-in-progress entitled Hot Flash Sonnets.

This series of poems was conceived at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, to whom the author would like to express her particular gratitude, as well as to her fellow Fellows, who were invaluable for inspiration.