Apartment Villanelle

Everything that exists outside my window
also exists behind it. Daylight, I look out.
Behind the glass, am I not transparent

while the world attempts to throw itself
beyond the surface. Into the water glass pours
everything that exists outside my window

and I drink it. I watch in my underwear,
knowing a nakedness that only exists
behind the glass. Am I not transparent?

At night, with the light on, I cover myself.
Reflection has two meanings. At night,
everything that exists outside my window

can see me, but now I am watching myself
knowing the world has entered my room.
Behind the glass, am I not transparent

as the thumbprint moon? As the scatter
of speech that reaches me from the street?
Everything that exists outside my window
and behind it, am I not transparent?



Whose form did I take? Why am I crying?
I’m trying to follow the rules: warning(!) warning(!)

but I am watching reality TV until 4am, until the moon
dips like a drying T-shirt past the telephone lines.

This means I need to tell you about the plastic
in my garbage can: cardboard from Amy’s frozen

dinners, the rings from six-packs of Dr. Pepper, cut
to save the sea turtles, potato chip bags, paper towels

doused in cat urine. What happens outside my window
happens in here too, just oppositely like in a mirror.

I have a fantasy wherein I leave my neighbors
instructions on what can be recycled and what can’t,

but then I order more cat litter online and know
I have no authority to name the new spring flowers.

Plastic is a conspiracy. There are many beautiful stories
about convenience stores. There are many convenient

stories about beautiful people. I spill soda on the carpet
and the ants are happy again. I might be beautiful

but I can’t think of a good reason to become
a convenient person and the ants are so happy.


Sonnet in My Name

I’m a mad idea, a need
in denial, an amen mailed
a mile. I aimed a needle
and mended nine men.
I’m a dime-a-lime meal,
ladle me in. Deem me a nail
in an email, an enameled
maiden in a mini, a mid-
level medal, an indelible
lie. Elide me. Lead me in
and deal me a damn. ID
me an end. I named me.
I need me. Mad? I’m made
in a line and I am all mine.

To read Miracle Monocle's interview with the poet, click here.

MADELEINE WATTENBERG is the author of the poetry collection I/O (University of Arkansas Press, 2021). Her poems have appeared in journals such as Salamander Magazine, The Rumpus, Puerto del Sol, sixth finch, and Best New Poets. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cincinnati and serves as Associate Editor for the Cincinnati Review.