Rosalie Moffett

a radiologic procedure to investigate the shape of the uterine cavity
and the patency of the fallopian tubes

In ancient Rome, a haruspex didn't see the futurein the viscera of the sacrifice, just the mood of the gods,their disposition. Even then, in the prediction,a little wiggle room. In the room, the machine, maneuverablefrom the ceiling, small sink. No place for my clothes. Sacrificetableau too boring for a painting. The liver we knowwas of particular interest, the liver they thoughtthe maker of blood, the maker of life itself.I bled through the napkin put there to be bled on.The gynecologist showed up in her lead apron.How we know what we know we owe to the bronzelivers recovered with their diagrams intact. That recovermeans to find or get better rather than hide or upholsterseems a kind of test. My uterus, a knocked-out toothof dark dye on the x-ray. My good fortuneto be born in this era of divination, all my insidesstill on my inside. I was taught in school the funduswas the roof of the womb, though in any house, any holloworgan, it's just the part farthest from the opening.The eye has one. The stomach. The skyyou might say is a blue ceiling and below,doors to this World open along with shiny black exits,Unholstered. Flag ceaselessly half-mast, new massshooting, old mass shooting. What good is itto grope hopefully into the future? No one will recovermy x-rays from the earth. They're behind my patientportal, password-protected entrance whose virtual cathedralstretches back and back, but cannot bestepped into. As with the airabove my home, there are limits to the ownershipof my prospects. The wide straight line of the freewaysparks an expansive mindset. Exquisite fruiton a package with the lesser thing enclosed.Marketing, a failed CIA plot to inoculateagainst letdown. I once thought a life was like an odd objectyou inched out of a lake, knowing little by little morewhat kind of thing you had, as I didfrom the cheap motorboat, fishing up twistedlumber mill rejects, propellers, or cattle skeletons.But once it was clear what it was, it was easyto let it slide back in. You can see whyI'm in need of a new thought. In need of somethinginsurance refuses to cover. The Statue of Libertyquivers in a foreground conjured by the Magic Eye bookin the clinic waiting room. Like any promisedeparting from a pattern, even a small softeningof focus breaks it. Twitch away to the coverage—or is it recoverage, or recovering—of anothershooting. Phone footage and shouting. Page regressingto its cryptic scheme of flag fragments. The original appealof Magic Eye was in the disbelief in anything thereto see. My organs packed between the crescent moonsof my hips on the screen. One-room house with a roof.The dye was to bloom out like smoke from two chimneys.The present kept falling all around like rain, like questionsin a lengthy poll on my user experienceof this world, whether it was worth itto cut free a door painted shut. Shouting and bloodin the footage, too much to let in. The mood of the godswas sought via birds and via entrails. Outcomes hiding therelike shapes in another dimension a special technique—half crossing of the eyes—calls into being.The good of this method, of any methodof divination, is how it spares onethe act of lookingat what has been hauled, dripping, into the light.The lake I'm remembering is a reservoirmade by the Army Corps of Engineerswho choked a river for its power. It holds its own moonand everything anyone throws in. American museumin the depths, unvisitable. It's just as well. After a whileit must get easier to leave a door shut. To softenall attention. I never made a promiseto this place. Let the nation stayin its coverlet of myth. The waterupholstered in sky.

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Rosalie Moffett is the author of Nervous System (Ecco), which was chosen by Monica Youn for the National Poetry Series Prize, and listed by the New York Times as a New and Notable book as well as June in Eden (OSU Press). She has been awarded the “Discovery”/Boston Review prize, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, and scholarships from the Tin House and Bread Loaf writing workshops. Her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, New England Review, Narrative, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor at the University of Southern Indiana.

Cover of NER 43.1


Middlebury, Vermont

Middlebury College

Carolyn Kuebler

Managing Editor
Leslie Sainz

Poetry Editor
Jennifer Chang

By publishing new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that is both challenging and inviting, New England Review encourages artistic exchange and thought-provoking innovation, providing publishing opportunities for writers at all stages in their careers. The selection of writings in each issue presents a broad spectrum of viewpoints and genres, including traditional and experimental fiction, long and short poems, translations, criticism, letters from abroad, reviews in arts and literature, and rediscoveries. New England Review exists in a place apart from mass culture, where speed and information overload are the norm. At NER, serious writing is given serious attention, from the painstaking selection process through careful editing and publication, where finally the writer’s words meet up with a curious and dedicated readership.

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