Literary Orphans

Anatomy by Erin Cisney


Slow songs and addiction

were filling a hole in me.

empty, what I desperately


wanted to be.  My father’s throat

laced with white, cannibal vines

that glowed in the dark.


Only he could see them.

Plants were dying on the sill,

I opened up my calves


like a sunrise full of red.

When he died, I bought fish,

I filled an aquarium with cichlids


and sucker mouths,

watched them swim.

Spring was too bright,


the tulips and hyacinths,

unsympathetic, blooming

with vicious force.


In dreams, I was lost

in anatomy museums

surrounded by secrets


on display, obscene and quiet.

Imagine the colors beneath your skin,

how fragile the filigree of nerves.


When he died, I stopped believing

in ghosts.  I grew up, studied biology

drank clear liquor to feel clean.

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Erin Cisney is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.  Her poetry has previously appeared in The Spry Literary Journal, VAYAVYA, Camroc Press Review and Rust + Moth.


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–Foreground Art by Charles Simms

–Background Art by Mario Mencacci