Vulning Pelican: Triple Elegy

Mihaela Moscaliuc

I waddle among pelicans of grief.They waddle through me,our throat sacs stapled shut.I stir the third soup, lovage and thirteen bean,then bend over wild mushroom brothto inhale fern and moss.The beetroot soup, soured with tonicteased from the skin of wheat,stings blood red—a compromisefor a night without drinks.This winter I’m learning how not to die:With a new emergency generator unboxed,the book on the rhetoric of science off to press.Or bleeding from the esophagus in the wake of your wife’sdeath to cancer while still mourning the murdered daughter.Overtranquilized for having raised hell when hours passbefore an aide cleans your bedmate’s feces. You lift a wide-tipped marker to your faceand, without mirror, thicken brows and limn, askew on your cheek, a hooked beak.An ocean away from me, you are pecking at your breast, dying.This winter I learn how not to die by making soup—beetroot, mushroom, bean—and pound the waters with wings and feet to steal enough speed.

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Photo of Mihaela Moscaliuc

Mihaela Moscaliuc is the author of the poetry collections Cemetery Ink, Immigrant Model, and Father Dirt, translator of Liliana Ursu’s Clay and Star and Carmelia Leonte’s The Hiss of the Viper, editor of Insane Devotion: On the Writing of Gerald Stern, and co-editor of Border Lines:Poems of Migration. She is the translation editor for Plume and associate professor of English at Monmouth University, NJ.

cover of New Letters Vol 87

Winter/Spring 2021

Kansas City, Missouri

University of Missouri-Kansas City

Editor-in-Chief
Christie Hodgen

Assistant Editor
Ashley Wann

“One of America’s most consistently interesting literary magazines. Both on the air and on the page, New Letters makes a serious contribution to culture across the nation.”
—Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio book critic

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