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My Heart is the Smallest Catafalque

by Cynthia Cruz

I buried everything you gave me
In the orchard.

Then I let the silence
Come on like a good drug.

Already, the gunships loom.
Now the swallows

Come to me in sleep. And a boy
Whispers of Saint Francis and the wolf

He broke. In the sanitarium, some Christian brothers
Come offering solace.

But my heart is the smallest
Catafalque. Always,

I was such a strange sort of
Princess. Hiding in the horseweed with my crosses,

Yellow-haired and feral in the woods.
Now, neither birds nor the sea can save me.

Set me in the field and let the stars
Have their way.


Cynthia Cruz was raised in Germany and California. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Paris Review, The Boston Review, Grand Street, Chel-sea, and Pleiades, among others. She has received fellowships to Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony and teaches poetry in New York City schools as part of Teachers & Writers Collaborative.

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