Category Archives: CPR Volume 18, Issue 2

On Tidying Up
by Rebecca Starks

after Marie Kondo

Let everything you own pass through your hands
and keep only what brings you joy.
You’ll never have to do it again.

Live in a museum of your joy.
The pebble lifted from a stream that still gleams, dry;
the shirt that fits just right in the bust;

the wallet that’s served you twenty years;
the unexpected sight of your name,
that buried original self-delight. Joy.

But toss everything out blind
and you’ll drag its ghost behind you forever,
a boa constricting your DNA.

You who never wanted to live your life over,
moving always upwind,
only sniffing after it when the cut tin swings—

You wanted the possibility of being reminded
so you could forget it all.
Forget it, the way you forget your breath.

Let the true shades push forward
like the wafer dissolving
on Cassandra’s tongue.

From childhood, whistling.
From school, the defenestration of Prague.
From your lovers, only your children.

You’ve named them all Joy.
From your living will, one sentence:
until nothing brings you joy.

What is joy but the plant tip, the terminal bud
seeking out light
it doesn’t need to see?

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 2.

Rebecca Starks’s poems have appeared in Slice, Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poetry Northwest and elsewhere. Her fiction has appeared in Crab Orchard Review. She edits Mud Season Review and teaches lifelong learners at the University of Vermont.

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In a Field, Far
by Ann DeVilbiss

There is a deep trembling
at the foot of this year’s throne.

The bruises pale,
the pressed teeth of their wounding

A sea of grass
is wound like ribbons through her hair,
has grown around her shape

until any fool
could see she grew out of this same soil
that is taking her back.

The birds claim
strands of her to soften the nests
of their children.

Her body becomes
a piece of gold stuck
in the throat of a sparrow.

Which is worth more,
the coin clutched in a bloody hand
or the voice around it, singing.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 2.

Ann V DeVilbissAnn V. DeVilbiss has a BA from Indiana University, where she completed the English honors program with a concentration in poetry. She does editing and production work in Louisville, Kentucky, where she lives with her husband and their cats.

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North Window
by Carlie Hoffman

Tonight I love you on a spring morning. I love you with the window open. You are mine, and things are mine, and my love alters the things around me and the things around me alter my love. –Jean-Paul Sartre

On any given day two people are building a room, wishing it becomes a cathedral. Together, they choose the white curtains to hang from the rod of their bedside window. The spring mud coming up through sidewalk cracks. The mango sun making the street of brick apartments shine the color of a lion’s back. The distant clouds. They paint the frame the muddy, tin shade of sycamore bark. The walls: the fleshy underbelly of a fish. An illusion of breathing dizzily under water, like peering through a cathedral’s stained glass. It was like lions, they want to say, but can’t. Instead, while they work, they consider all the clouds in the corners of all the windows of their pasts: A school bus, a sliding screen door at the threshold of a den. Always looking out, distracted, and thinking about sex. And once, the December morning spent staring up in Rembrantplein square, watching the clouds rush over the tops of spires. The clouds like sudden lions blazing across a clear and steady plain, flooded with light. They told themselves the Earth was spinning away beneath their feet. First because they didn’t know what it felt like. After, because they did.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 2.

Carlie HoffmanCarlie Hoffman is from New Jersey. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, Nashville Review, Jai-Alai Magazine, and Canary: A Literary Journal of Environmental Crisis.

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