Oblation

Tanya Grae

My gynecologist asks if others may watch.I consent. Already numb, why not?There should be an audience for this end.An antiphon could be written in the humof machinery & whirr. My feet cold on metalstirrups, my legs bent high in a squat,I tune the sterile out. After today I won'thave a period, that punctuation I prayed forat times will disappear. He tells me I will feelsome pressure, a little pinch, then dilate wide:my cervix, my eyes. A laparoscopic cameraenters my universe, reveals on the monitora contrast to anatomy diagramsof an inflamed red trumpet: a loft aglow—carnations, white feathers, heaveninside of me. The whole room pressesclose to the screen. I turn my head awayas we tear the cradle down.

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Tanya Grae’s debut collection of poems, Undoll, was a National Poetry Series finalist. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, AGNI, New Ohio Review, Post Road, Poets.org, among other literary journals. The recipient of several awards, including two Academy of American Poets Prizes and the Tennessee Williams / New Orleans Literary Festival Poetry Prize, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa, she holds an MFA in poetry and fiction from Bennington College. She lives in Tallahassee and teaches at Florida State University while finishing her PhD. 

"In this deft and restless oeuvre on the enigma that is woman, Tanya Grae displays an expressive narrative mastery that's unusual in a debut. These resolute stanzas are alternately fierce and tender, served up with an addictive skill that inspires awe and roots the reader in stories so many of us are afraid to tell."
―Patricia Smith

"In Undoll, Tanya Grae draws on a multitude of clear images and cultural references to steady the roiling emotional drama underlying her poems. For her fortunate readers, the result is a mixture of literary artistry and human cries of desire, disappointment, and anger. This poet has found a new way to combine a lively, educated mind with the naked reality of the body."
―Billy Collins

"Tanya Grae's Undoll offers us a world where 'every choice goes on forever,' 'everywhere holds a mirror,' and 'our whole is / a fractal of everything.' Here mothers, daughters, and husbands possess a mirror's unnerving ability not only to reflect but also to distort. Grae writes with such aptness of metaphor, such clarity of vision, that she reminds us, too, of the pleasures a mirror can hold: the seemingly endless iterations of the self, the capacity for transformation, and, yes, an abundance of light."
―Maggie Smith

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