Back to Issue Fourteen.

because a matryoshka doll is a nest made of eggs



At least she is safe. At least
her body of wood rounds at bottom.
And if she breaks, as she must, thrust
into hands happiest if they hurt her,
if she splits or shatters or goes fine, at least
she grows smaller and smaller with each dose
of the other’s pleasure, as sparrows narrow their
numbed bodies to burrow into holes carved
from cold. And if she is all hole, opening always
as sky opens to take in the wound of snow, at least—
cut her paint of patterned petals six times, she holds,
at core, a kernel of girl, a seed of soul garnered in
                                                            snugly screaming.

Gillian Cummings’ forthcoming debut collection, My Dim Aviary, was the recipient of the 2015 Hudson Prize from Black Lawrence Press. Her poems have appeared in Boulevard, Cincinnati ReviewColorado Review, Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, and Linebreak, among others. She is the author of two chapbooks, Spirits of the Humid Cloud (dancing girl press, 2012) and Petals as an Offering in Darkness (Finishing Line Press, 2014). A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA program, she is also a visual artist.

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