Anita Olivia Koester


Once, you drove through the Indonesian jungle,
calmed by a Mexican pianist painting stars,

an album I gave to you, you, who would save the white tiger
and abandon this heroine to her attempts to revive

the lifeless nights, the days that died quickly as moths,
and the months that gestated

and gestated, giving birth to little more
than a sack of fluid, two ounces of blood.

I've begun constructing that cabin we once spoke of
out of brown paper, and the trees out of green,

I hadn't known fires could merely start by opening the lid
of the piano, teasing a few bars,

that the slow undressing of Beethoven's Sonata,
could become a hatred for the moon,

one, forever dwarfed and doubled by Murakami,
prayed to from the top of a playground,

because love begins when we are children, but tonight
the moon is listless as a cyst in the ovaries

of Selene, round as the little pill I take daily
in order to deny my biology.

In the beginning there was a patio to lay,
and you a student with your shovel, your sweat,

and me barely a woman, cheeks pink as labia,
we worked side by side,

my body a little hum nervous to rupture into curves
and harbor light, a little blink

traveling the fallopian tubes of the Milky Way,
and now, what's left-

a girl turning away in photographs,
a girl stuffed into a few pink envelopes.

The music is balanced by repetitions, kept alive
by slight variations, like nights passing alone,

but that wasn't all life was ever going to be,
once these sheets were only half-written.

Damn, that moon is clever, is a thief without any light source
of its own, for you see now, I'm marred/damned/mired

and you're married, scratched off the list
of potential donors,

and inside, there are only craters upon craters,
no new moons gestating into nightlights,

lullabies, and music notes.

Anita Olivia Koester is a poet and photographer. Her chapbook, Marco Polo, is forthcoming with Hermeneutic Chaos Press. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Vinyl, Tahoma Literary Review, Clarion, Unsplendid, HEArt, and elsewhere. In 2015, Shot Glass Journal nominated her for a Pushcart Prize and she won the First Night Evanston Poetry Contest. She was also a finalist in Photographer's Forum Annual Spring Contest and is published in their book, Best of Photography 2015. Her writing has been supported by Vermont Studio Center, Art Farm, and Sundress Academy for the Arts. When not traveling, she lives in Chicago with her books and her Australian Shepherd.

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