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Ava C. Cipri


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I wonder the difference
between true ribs & floating ribs

as a possum opens its sternum—
housing nesting dolls,
so many foiled sister-selves.

The world splits: forest tares free of sky
& the sun swells.

Days pass into another like blurred cargo on a train—
night’s moon a solitary eye raises the tides.

Stars drop like locks from the dark doors of closets; my sister refuses food.

I spend three days on shore before the last boat,
departs. Soon all the women leave—cross over.

What language is spoken; distant, distant song?
Who cares to own the sea, to seek dilute fairy blood?

The red-haired man offers no explanation for taking my sister.

1600 Smallman St., Pittsburgh, PA

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Once Metropol, Greek for Mother City.
I lean into the No Trespassing sign.
Remnants of the industrial club—
the silver glint of a mirror:
maybe the bathroom where
we drank, smoked cloves,
& fucked. Maybe the one
behind the jewel-liquored bar.

I'd rather its brilliance burn
than be gutted like the other
Strip District warehouses—
multimillion-dollar condos
rising over the Allegheny River.

The pillars still stand.
The ruins sift twilight
almost to the stage
& the mosh pit rises
& falls like a wave
under Trent Reznor’s angst:
Terrible lie. Terrible lie.

Our bodies, a chorus.
20 year-old me:
wearing what Link called
Fuck-Me Red lipstick & nails,
black ripped fishnets,
cutoff shorts, crushed velvet
black leotard, Doc Martens.

Oh, to Ministry,

Nitzer Ebb,

Lords of Acid,

Front 242,

to Soundgarden,

Flaming Lips,

Public Enemy,

Violent Femmes.

Oh, to Hole.

Praise the dancing body.

Praise the buried body—
once moving, untethered,
knowing nothing of
limits & assistive devices.

Hey God, I believed
your promises.
Your promises & lies.

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