White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Maya Sonenberg
Maya Sonenberg's story collections are Voices from the Blue Hotel (Chiasmus Press, 2007) and Cartographies (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989). More recent fiction and nonfiction have appeared (or will appear soon!) in Fairy Tale Review, upstreet, So to Speak, South Loop Review, New Ohio Review, Hotel Amerika, and Web Conjunctions. She teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Washington.

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Maya Sonenberg

Her feet up in the stirrups, waiting for the doctor to return and for the cold prod of the speculum, Judith heard the scream come from the room next door. These days, her thoughts immediately went to cancer: breast cancer, uterine cancer, or the worst, ovarian cancer. Her closest friend had recently succumbed to that one. But when Dr. ??? (how could she forget his name? she’s been seeing him for years!) gave that perfunctory knock and came into the room, glancing at the chart in his hand, he was chuckling to himself. “How are you today, Mrs. Cooperman?” he asked, still chuckling, and proceeded to don the plastic gloves and goop them up so that his hand could slide right up inside her. No one had placed a finger inside her for a while though she couldn’t decide whether she missed it or just missed missing it. Bernard had been gone for nearly twenty years, off with that “floozy” as Judith couldn’t help calling the other, newer Mrs. Cooperman, although she knew it was a word left over from movies she sat through during her teens in the 1940’s. Since he left she’d been quite virginal, she thought.


Our Charming Little Princess



No ultrasounds, no genetic testing, Judith was put into a twilight sleep for the birth and first met Mina after she had been washed, wrapped in a fuzzy pink blanket, and adorned with a plastic ankle bracelet. Mina had been given her first bottle by a nurse. The night before, in the snow, Judith had insisted on walking in Central Park, insisted that she couldn’t really be in labor yet. After so many years, so many miscarriages, she couldn’t believe she was really about to become a mother. All the tiny white shirts, and white cotton mitts to keep the baby from scratching itself, and white baby blankets crocheted by her aunts, must be lying. The insistent pain in her belly and back, the pain that rolled in and withdrew again, must be lying.


January 29, 1965

4:33 am

7 pounds, 4 ounces

21 inches


Parents are requested to examine this report

carefully, sign it, and return it promptly. If it is unsatisfactory in any way, a conference with the teacher or principal is advised.


SUBJECTS Final Average
Arithmetic B
Civics B
Cooking C
Drawing C
English B
Geography A
History A
Hygiene A
Music A
Penmanship C
Phys. Ed. A
Reading A
Science C
Sewing B
Spelling C
Days Absent 0


Proud Parents

Bernard and Judith Cooperman


I married the Defendant on May 15, 1955 in the City of New York, County of New York, State of New York.


How Mina’s parents loved her! During her Little Red Riding Hood phase, her father had sewn a clumsy felt cape for her favorite doll when he couldn’t find one in a store, and he’d tossed her in the air when she graduated from kindergarten. He had paid for ballet lessons and piano lessons, bought skis and ice skates, wondering which of these skills would stick. Her mother had painted her toe nails, read to her, braided her hair (always too tight, but it looked beautiful), allowed her to date whomever, whenever, sent her off to college with a trousseau fit

for a royal bride. In 1983, she was the only girl in the dorms with monogrammed towels and sheets, the only one whose mother had sent her on the train to Chicago, brought her to Grand Central Station and hired a porter to take her trunk, then led her on board, shoving a pair of new white gloves into her hand. Mina eyed the punks on the next platform jealously, with their spiked hair and thick black boots.



Judith Rachel Cooperman, Plaintiff

--against--             JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE

Bernard David Cooperman, Defendant

Now on motion of Judith Cooperman, Plaintiff, it is:
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the marriage between Judith Cooperman, Plaintiff, and Bernard Cooperman, Defendant, is hereby dissolved by reason of the commission of an act of adultery by Defendant, pursuant to DRL §170(4); and it is further….

Dated: June 12, 1985
                                                                      Robert Gregson

Last call for Amtrak train number forty, the Broadway Limited: Philadelphia; Harrisburg; Pittsburgh; Akron, Ohio; Cleveland; Toledo; South Bend, Indiana; Chicago, Illinois. Last call. Track Forty-four.


Regular attendance is absolutely necessary for the satisfactory progress of the pupil. Nothing hinders success in school more than irregular attendance. Pupils should learn to be regular and prompt. The Home can help much in the formation of such habits by discouraging unnecessary absence and tardiness.


Burglary/vandalism: A known female entered her ex-boyfriend's home in the 100 block of Enchanted Hills Road early Tuesday, May 15, 1985, while he was not home and destroyed several pieces of furniture and poured liquid bleach onto his clothing.

Disorderly Conduct: Mina R. Cooperman, 19, of Chicago, was charged with disorderly conduct after refusing to leave Club 390, 390 E. Joe Orr Road.

Ornaments Stolen: Two ceramic lawn ornaments were stolen August 23 or 24, 1986 from a home's front yard at 33 The Maples.


Judith Rachel Cooperman, Plaintiff

--against--            Affidavit of Plaintiff

Bernard David Cooperman, Defendant

The grounds for dissolution of the marriage are as follows:

Adultery (DRL §170(4)):

That on March 23, 1984, at the premises located at 106 East 86 Street, New York, New York, 10028, the Defendant engaged in sexual intercourse with Moira Rubin, without the procurement nor the connivance of the Plaintiff, and the Plaintiff ceased to cohabit with the Defendant upon the discovery of the adultery.

Attached please find the corroborating affidavit of a third party witness, namely Mina Ruth Cooperman.


WHEREFORE, I Judith Rachel Cooperman, respectfully request that judgment be entered for the relief sought and for such other relief as the court deems fitting and proper.


Dated: August 16, 1984


SUBJECTS Final Average
Gives best efforts +
Accurate +
Obeys promptly --
Cheerful --
Reads between the lines +
On time with work --
Concentrates well +
Uses time wisely --
Cooperates well I
Is sneaky I
Is courteous & kind I
Avoids quarreling --
Keeps rules of school I
Has an obsessive concern for justice +
Is dependable I
Shows initiative +

(+) Strong (--) Needs Improvement (I) Improved


The Plaintiff’s address is 106 East 86 Street, New York, New York, 10028. The Defendant’s address is 33 The Maples, Roslyn, New York 11576.


Summer Shorts

Although these three short plays are short on style, “The Professor’s Parrot” cleanses the palate delightfully between the more somber and plodding works performed on either side of it—“Morning in Michigan” and “The Funeral.” In just one act each, these attempt unsuccessfully to delve into the secrets of birth and death, but in striving for less, “The Professor’s Parrot” accomplishes more.

Especially powerful as Mrs. P is Mina Cooperman who imbues her slight role of the Professor’s long-suffering wife with genuine distress as she watches a bird replace her in her husband’s affections.

Reviewed by …., Special to The New York Times

Thursday, October 25, 1990



Mina Cooperman and Daniel Rozen Mina Ruth Cooperman and Daniel Rozen were married Monday evening, June 20, 1998, at the Players Club on Gramercy Park.

The bride, 33, is an actress, most recently seen in the Roundabout Theater Company’s production of The Women. For the past five summers, she has been a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. She graduated from Northwestern University’s Theater Department and is the daughter of Judith Cooperman of New York City, and Bernard Cooperman, the prominent trial lawyer, of Roslyn, New York.

The bridegroom, 35, is an independent set designer. He graduated from Pratt Insitute. He is the son of

Diane Smith of Englewood, N. J. and the late David Rozen.

As children, Mr. Rozen and Ms. Cooperman attended the same summer theater camp, where he remembers her flubbing her lines in the season-ending production of Romeo and Juliet and she remembers him dropping a chair just off-stage during her big scene.

Mr. Rozen and Ms. Cooperman did not meet again until nearly two decades later when they ran into each other at the premier of a mutual friend’s play. She didn’t immediately recognize the clean-cut Mr. Rozen. “He used to have really long, wild hair,” Ms. Cooperman recalled. Mr. Rozen, didn’t recognize her either, but once reintroduced, they seemed to see each other everywhere. And, as they say, the rest is history.

At the ceremony, the bride wore a gown modeled on Katherine Hepburn’s wedding dress in Philadelphia Story. The bridesmaids wore vintage tea dresses and carried bouquets of yellow rosebuds. The groom and ushers wore navy blue.

Over a slice of cake decorated with fresh violets and

gold leaf, the bride’s father, Bernard Cooperman, noted, “Nothing is too good for my little princess. She’s finally getting married.”



“She’ll be a little bean,” Mina was thinking as the technician got the ultrasound machine ready. “I’ll see her all curled up and they’ll take photos I can take home and show to Dan.” She was sure it would be a girl, though she didn’t know how she knew. The technician asked if she wanted to know the baby’s gender—of course she did—although you can’t always see on these tests, it all depends on how the baby’s turned. She felt the warm gel spread on her stomach—hated the cute way the tech called it her “tummy” as if she herself were a baby—and imagined her little girl swinging in a Moses basket as Mina walked the length of a train car, traveling from one acting job to another or sleeping in a Moses basket back stage or later reading a picture book while Mina studied her lines. But then the tech was saying, “Hum, just a minute. Let me just come over here,” and it seemed to be taking so long for her to turn the screen around so that Mina could see that she started to worry, first just a slippery feeling in

her throat but then her feet turned ice cold and her hands started to shake. “Is there something wrong?” she managed to ask through clenched teeth. “No, no, not at all,” the tech said and spun the screen around. “It’s twins! See, here. Twin boys. Congratulations!” And that’s when Mina screamed.



Having come in, the angel Gabriel said to her, “Rejoice, you highly favored one! Blessed are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered what kind of salutation this might be.



But what if it’s all a mistake and I’m really him instead of me? We were identical so it’s possible, isn’t it? That they should have given me the other name when I came out?


Dear Mina and Daniel:


This letter is to confirm our telephone conversation with you that the karyotypic analysis of the fetal cells from the amniotic fluid shows your fetuses to be 46, XY, chromosomally normal monozygotic males. The alpha-fetoprotein was within the normal range, indicating the fetuses probably do not have open neural tube defects. As we discussed, your screening tests for Tay-Sachs disease both showed normal hexosaminidase A enzyme activity levels, indicating their neither of you are carriers for a Tay-Sachs gene.

It was a pleasure to meet you. We are happy the results of your tests are normal and extend our best wishes for the future to you all.


L. Simmer, MD

Attending Physician, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

February 25, 2003

Obituary: Paul Rozen, infant son of Daniel and Mina Rozen, stillborn on June 20, 2003. Although he never spent any time with us, he touched many of our lives. Survivors include his parents, twin brother Luke, maternal grandparents Judith and Bernard Cooperman, step-grandmother Moira Cooperman, and paternal grandmother Diane Smith.


The Classes – 1987 – 20th Reunion Year!


Ran into Mina Cooperman at the premier of Josh Green’s new play last week. She lives in Manhattan with her husband Daniel Rozen and their four-year-old son and currently trains sales reps in Pfizer’s international division. “I get to pretend I’m a doctor in Paris or Calcutta, while the reps practice selling me the newest drug.” She said it’s a far cry from playing Hedda Gabler and she’d love any leads!


identity is "…a subjective sense as well as an observable quality of personal sameness and continuity, paired with some belief in the sameness

and continuity of some shared world image. As a quality of unself-conscious living…”

Erik Erikson


Not herself but like whom then? No one else but her there with the bleach, with the glass tossed in the guy’s face and then one onto the sidewalk, with the stolen gnome and deer. Those had been hard to wrestle into the car, also taken without asking, though her father hadn’t reported that theft. He knew she had a key, knew she had to have filched it. He really hadn’t known until later that she’d taken the statues—if you could call them that, she thought with a laugh. Moira must have picked them out. Years later, at her wedding, her father had raised his glass to her new husband. She’s all yours now, he said say. Good luck. Ah, she thought, her old weird self had never been forgiven or forgotten.


An Exodus from Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway:

Three dozen theaters go dark as recession brings the curtains down.

By Norm Arnoldson

Friday, December 12, 2008


When the leads come, she doesn’t follow.


The captain has illuminated the fasten seatbelt sign. Please return to your seats and make sure that your seatbelts are tightly fastened. As you can tell, we have entered an area of turbulence. If you are sitting next to a loved one, this would be a good time to hold his or her hand. We’ll be landing shortly.



To: Daniel Rozen and Mina Cooperman (tenants)

365 East 7th Street, Apt. 5 New York, NY 10009


You are notified that you owe rent in the amount of $7824.00.

If you do not pay this rent by the date stated below, your tenancy is terminated and you must move. Date and time by which rent must be paid:

Date: October 23, 2008. Time: 10:00 a.m.

If you pay your rent in full before this date and time, you do not have to move.

If you do not pay your rent or move by this date and time, a lawsuit may be filed to evict you.


Date: October 16, 2008          Signature: ___________________________________


On October 16, 2008 at 10 a.m:

X       I attempted to make personal service on the tenants named above. I knocked on

          the door of the premises, and no one answered. Although I heard voices and

          other noises from inside, I believed tenants were absent, having mistakenly left a

          television on when they went out, and so I securely affixed this Notice to the

          entry door of the above premises.


        October 16, 2008

_______________________________      ______________________________

                                 Date                                                                                                       Signature


What if my old room was really his room and he’s there now? Maybe that’s why we needed to move.

When Mom told me I had a twin who died, I first thought how happy I was I didn’t have to share my room with him because it’s really small, just big enough for my bed and dresser and a place on the floor to play. And now I have to share a room at Granddad’s instead which is even worse, and almost all my stuff’s in boxes. Mom and me (and Dad when he’s here) sleep in the den, since the bedrooms are full of my uncles—uncles!—even though they’re practically young enough to be my brothers. The one called Saul teases me all the time about my fire helmet. A fireman gave it to me, but here we drive to school in the morning and there’s no fire station to walk by or firemen to wave to on the way. Sometimes I say something about missing home and Dad, but then I see how sad Mom is and I remember to shut up.

Maybe he is me—or was me. My twin, I mean. But if there’s only one of us, it has to be me—doesn’t it? I can’t be him. Or can I? What if he’s really inside me? How would I even know him if I met him? I

guess he’d look like me, but probably not exactly alike because Sharon and Ruth at school are identical twins and I can tell them apart. Maybe it doesn’t really matter if I’m him instead of me, because we’d turn out to be the same anyway, but I’d say that’s not really true, because we wouldn’t end up being exactly the same, even if we were identical. Maybe all this time, I thought I was me but I was supposed to be the one to die. Maybe I did die and I’ve been him all along without even knowing it.


The Plaintiff’s address was 106 East 86 Street, New York, New York, 10028. The Plaintiff’s address was 365 East 7th Street, Apt. 5, New York, NY 10009. The Defendant’s address was 33 The Maples, Roslyn, New York 11576. The Defendant’s address is unknown.


ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that both parties are authorized to resume the use of any former surname, and it is further




Copyright© Maya Sonenberg. White Whale Review, issue 4.1

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