Beautiful, finally, inside the quiet
Latrine of my Mexican

Rode a pony, drove
A tractor, and never
Finished the first grade.

It’s always hardest for the top
Angel, and he
Dropped down to me.
Brave, nurse
From the Otherworld.

Crowned me
White, burned me

Ward of the court, orphan
Of seven foster homes, no one knows—

So don’t ever
Tell them.

Inheritance or Amber Schloss

Your sisters are witches.
I race the staircase as they chase me
With their knives. They hide

The money in the mouths of car seats.

In the backyard, the fresh cut graves
Wait, greedy and gaping.

In the Black Forest, the largest known earthworm
Slides along the rocky floor.
And the woolly mammoth’s tusks
Shine off the wind of the moon.

A fishhook, memory drags
Its cold ankle
Through the black marsh.

I don’t sleep.
I hold your body like a giant
Baby’s, blink

When the moon spits
Its dreams into our window.

And God does not keep
The demons back.

He sets the Rook and the Queen
Behind the meadow,
Lets me open the window
To look.

At Bodensee, the mansions tower
In winter with their ghost lights.

The past is a curse, a darling
Death moving inside me.

This dollhouse is an asylum
With its river of trauma
Running through it
Like red wine.

Our home has become frozen.

A museum of curiosities, a means of holding
The shores of the mind back.

And the voices of children live on
Inside us.

But there are no children here.


Cynthia Cruz is the author of Ruin, a collection of poems published by Alice James Books. Her poems have been published in many journals including the American Poetry Review, Paris Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, and others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

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