Two Romanian American Poems

A photograph of a coffee grinder with beans and tumeric on the table
Photo of melangeur by nobito /


The manual couldn’t be clearer about how even moisture
trapped in sugar could ruin the melangeur,
so when the granite wheels screech and some unseen 
plastic insert breaks, you anger, but decide not to let

an inattention so small dictate how you should love.
Perhaps the cacao nibs weren’t dry or hot enough. 

You scoop the coarse paste into a bowl
and step into the tub. Breasts and belly enrobed 
as in armor, you dream yourself Thalestris,
the last Amazon queen whose sultriness survived 
though her historical presence remains disputed.

You whittle desire into song. Don’t turn on the faucet, 
don’t want the water rushing to waste you.



to temper: to bring to a suitable 
state by heating and cooling

Condé Nast promises to let me in
on the Best Chocolates from Around the World 
but I already know where to find it. 
The melangeur’s granite wheels have stopped 
grinding their teeth and the notes 
rising from our cellar enrobe your body
with the elsewise, earthy, sweet 
clover hay finish of Cuyagua nibs.
We know each other’s melting points
and have perfected the technique: 
cool down, bring back the heat,
repeat, subdue excess
till molecules bond
into an adagio so smooth
we snap as only the best bars do,
and call that ravishment. 

Mihaela Moscaliuc was born and raised in Romania. Her poetry collections include Cemetery Ink (2021) and a collection in Spanish titled Algunos poemas fugitivos (2023), translated by Frances Simán. In addition to two book-length translations, she edited Insane Devotion: On the Writing of Gerald Stern (2016) and co-edited Border Lines (2020). She directs the MA program in English at Monmouth University, New Jersey, where she teaches creative writing and literature and is translation editor for Plume.