Brooklyn Poetry Feature: Miranda Dennis, Emily Hockaday & Jiwon Choi

This was originally printed in the Jan. 25, 2024 edition of the newspaper.

Photo by Christine Stoddard.

In December 2023, the New York Times Magazine announced that it was ending its poetry feature after nine years. We asked Brooklynites to submit their poems to be published here. This week’s poets are Miranda Dennis and Emily Hockaday. This is the last installment in this series.

“The Lights Under Essex Street”

By Miranda Dennis

At the mouth of the sky

now that the trolleys are dead

each bulb a constant star

a forest of light

a low hum

  lulled by

the cost of doing business

fixed parameters:

a city growing taller

but not always braver

a skyline made of glass

and steel

  the sand that makes both

a full moon hangs low

its ear to the ground

for the secrets you are thinking

quietly, or so you think:

the tropes of married men

or gas rumbling low in your belly

your tender eyes unblinking

to the shifting light

I hold a space for you

it attracts moths furious

banging their soft heads


“Olivia Benson”

By Miranda Dennis

Cool cop I love you / mythic, a sainted nun in a cellar / a burnt down house brittle on the lips of a politician / I’m alive at dawn and grateful / I’m collared and treated gingerly and grateful / I toast my bread but suffer for it / and must I now lay my head across cool tile floor / and must I now stoke this fever and be dragged over my own coals / here in the flickering box that media built / here we are intermediaries with plummy bruised lips / and cool cop give me the icebox to curl into / and your jaw is a mountain range scalable as a defense / but you, too, are softer than this / you trim my nails when I cannot even read my own palm / you give me grace / you give me calm

Miranda Dennis’s previous work includes essays published in Granta, Witness Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, and Hypertext Magazine, with a short story recently out in Allium. Her poetry has been previously published in storySouth, the Hollins Critic, Meridian, Cold Mountain Review, and others, with poetry reviews in the Hollins Critic and Quail Bell Magazine. She lives in Park Slope with an ancient, immortal cat.

Photo by Christine Stoddard.

“Live in this Body”

By Emily Hockaday

It was my mother who spotted the nighthawk

perched on the rail. A sort of hawk, she said.

Dark wings and sharp beak stood out

against the rushes and reeds. Even in the face

of bitter wind, I didn’t want to leave: the Sun

lit the hills of tall grass a flashy pink; the clouds

gathered at the edges of the day; nighthawks

were waking. Beyond this former landfill,

Brooklyn rose in sandstone peaks and glittering

glass windows. I have seen something ugly

transformed by beauty. I don’t know how many batteries

lie below the surface, left to leach into the bay

and surrounding vegetation. A city’s worth?

For now, I live in this body and try to forget

the destruction we wreak on this one, unlucky

ecosphere. How the lines of clouds light up

different colors. How the wind shakes the dry stalks

and moves ripples through the bay. How predators

take to the sky in the early winter dusk, unaware

of the land’s history.

Emily Hockaday’s latest collection, In a Body, was published by Harbor Editions in October 2023. She writes about ecology, chronic illness, parenthood, grief, and the urban environment. She’s on the web at


“I Am the Robot of the Situation”

By Jiwon Choi

Inside the coldest supermarket on Fifth Avenue

next door to the Spanish language daycare

brown mouse in-a-beret decal ambassador on the door

that is now the electric bike shop

is where you tell me how ready you are to hear all the answers

to the inquiring questions you are ready to ask

is it so easy to trust me in front of this bin of shiitake

mushrooms? Because who wouldn’t trust somebody ready

to plunge their hand into a gomorrha of fungi, but I am only good

at saying things you don’t want to hear:

marriages end in divorce or when one of us dies

veggie hot dogs are really 1000 pencil erasers hammered together

plastic roses are bad for the environment

no, I don’t want to visit your parents over Christmas

and though my advice will sound like a reckoning, consider:

if there’s a two-for-one sale on deli meats, just say no.

Jiwon Choi is the author of One Daughter is Worth Ten Sons and I Used To Be Korean. Choi’s third poetry collection, A Temporary Dwelling, will be forthcoming in June 2024.  She started her community garden’s first poetry reading series, Poets Read in the Garden, to support local writers. You can find out more about her at

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