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  • Margaret Cipriano

Two Poems


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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