Two Poems

March 15, 2019




Now a window, the 

photograph and the hands 


at the buttons, undoing.  

The hands and the mouth’s 


red. Then quickly 

I am torn. The snake 


with two bodies in the grass. 

Light and suggestion of  


a shadow, you kick  

the coins loose. Kick  


a body from its wanting. 

What rattled inside was not 


me. I am the orchard 

of golden-faced factories. You 


told me: be an animal  

of swift mechanics. Your face 


caught in a loved one’s fist.  

Again the simple need of honeyed 


roaches under a cylinder of glass.  

Unsuccessful little fate, 


I am asking to be held and then  

shattered. I am asking to be  


the thing you break, is  

broken for you. 











In the Beginning 


Heaven walks around on a rope:   blue, singular.  

            No audience here to belove the body. The silence big and threatening. 

Heaven circles. I hold my head over the fire, tilt it once, like a hand pouring water out of a glass. 

           Split the skin, and there’s a whole 

           battle there. It’s not the mountain that changed me but this woman hunger, 

           pressed           me flat—a mouth with the security light           gone out. I’ve learned I can punish myself brick by brick. Whatever dwells inside me           is not  

what you thought. A live wire called knowledge swings from the ceiling. 

           What a terrible ruin: the rest of me. First there was the blindfold          then 

           the blade. 










Margaret Cipriano is currently pursuing an MFA at The Ohio State University and serves as the Managing Editor of The Journal. Her poems and visual art have appeared or are forthcoming in Quarterly West, The Nashville Review, The Adroit Journal, Ninth Letter, Copper Nickel, Mid-American Review, Salt Hill, West Branch, Poetry Northwest, and others. She is the recent recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, a Pushcart nomination, and a finalist for the Greg Grummer Poetry Award at Phoebe

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