<i><b>Wicked Alice Poetry Journal
wicked alice| winter 2009

Ava Cipri


Capricorn Adjacent Cancer:  Opposition


I must participate.  This day is marked

For Hymen and it summons me to prayer.



I.in this act you name where, 'the sky wants to be the river.' 

and here, I have come upon it. 

like so many matters dealing with you. 

see there is another, across my city;

            a distanced heroine that knows. 


the image is unmistakable, it is your poem personified. 

though, this is not the first artifact to rise,


II.and here is where I might falter—

there is too much, endless ring-strung-knots of what I want. 

to convey.   

             you are, here, caught in my throat. 


III.I have not forgotten your burning cooper scent;

it rattles me, leads me down dead-end alleys. 


IV.yes, how to begin, where to frame it. 

see, if I don't begin, I don't have to end

—there is no final act, no closure that I need claim. 


V.I know you sight this recognition.  you were there. 

it began, once the word blame parted my lips,

              dropped sincerely.  


ask me now, to participate in your orchestration.








How I first knew:  Heburn's Sabrina;      

             her singing to Boggy

driving home, top down.

The call:  wanting it to be mine.


Infatuated.  So, it began.  No further back--

Grace Kelly fencing in the Swan,

to Garbo's refusal of suitors & dresses in Queen Christina.


The woman who undid me:  Marlene Dietrich in Morocco;

a voice I carry & play on nights like this one;

              that tongue:  German, French, and Spanish . . .


Another r gate lets out:  you ask, "how do I love?"


Breach of contract; one of you, the moon, & I.  And there was a song,

songs that stood for too much.  I can't remain still under your gaze. 

I will not be proof, the erroneous weight. 


Mutual witness, what have we unearthed?




Nina's Studio


Furnace out.  6:00am

Hudson River churns, violet.

Wind funnels through the keyhole.

Nana's kettle; proof of your habits.

Two shadows break.


Sometimes I can hold

nothing; its vastness irrefutable.


These days stack up, beg to be purged.  Don't answer

this letter or the one just composed.

Shuffle the deck, take a card, you know the one

facing you/ facing me.







"I tried to look up in the dictionary some of the words he uses, but they were not there."   

                                                    –Anais Nin after meeting Henry Miller for the first time



I.  It begins:  enter the labyrinth

                     what you desire can be found here.


Were they even words, can you remember now that he is gone?

How easily they fit you then.


Days pass, & the terrace flowers need watering, not words; your mail piles up.


Negotiate the void one word against one word;

each syllable hooks . . .



II.  Friends, now, ask              who was that lanky boy leaning

into you, then.


At the farmers' market you imagine using those words, but they fail you—

like your grounds-full-of-fairy rings, from you dormer window.


Clarify, make a language; not mere verbiage.


Soon, the bell at the gate jolts the bleeding instrument

& you think he'll return in about an hour.







". . . I have suffered the illusion that even things—mere chairs, tables, mirrors—conspire to increase my solitude."  


                                                     –Sarah Woodruff of Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman


At some point the bench invites us with our lunch or book,

& then discriminates us; where is our partner?


The painter and the chair:  will the artist fill the void with a model, flowers,

or fruit & bread? 

Or take his demons on like Vincent van Gogh.


I do not understand those who are uncertain, uneasy about space;

for me, it is the lack.   


Don't send letters or fine-toothed seductions; more wreckage to hold.


Ava Cipri has an MFA from Syracuse University, where she served on the staff of Salt Hill. Currently, She teaches at Duquesne University and facilitates writing workshops at the Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery (Power).  Published and forthcoming work appears in 2River View, New Zoo Poetry Review, Whiskey Island Magazine, and Wild Violet, among others.