Ivy Alvarez


I am the stung being in this room,
the sole white soul, the wave unavoidable.
Roof like a spat sea, a leviathan’s ribs
curving above me. I love to float, dirty strange,
carried aloft. This nunnery cobwebbed, forbidding
as a burning ancient, all change,
chiming ‘Render to Caesar’ all his things:
a bracelet silver, a broken wing, a hole in the floor,
a dancing meadow. My shadow is a needle
in my skin, shrinking, denouncing,
a boneless alien, always claiming to be
blood-friendly, loving me ‘til the end.
These pale walls, tipped lichen.
The one key is bleeding freely. I smell smoke.


Security Notes to the Museum of Winter

In the Museum of Winter, there will be no oranges, except for
the rumour of fires; no reds, except for tongues, burnt on the lips
of cups, their lava mouths. The experts will be Inuit. They have
all the knowledge requisite. Wolf-sheep hybrids are highly prized,
especially their teeth, how they wear away at the placards, the
walls. The mistress curator keeps the rooms ten degrees below
comfort. I often see my breath long before I exhale. Snow is holy
here, blindness a mark of respect. She and I reminisce over
chilblains, compare our blubber, bemoan the calipers at our
pinched waists. Behind the wainscoting, the mice scratch,
struggling to keep warm.


Ivy Alvarez‘s second poetry collection is Disturbance (Seren, 2013). A recipient of writing fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Hawthornden Castle and Fundacion Valparaiso, her work is published in journals and anthologies in many countries and online, with selected poems translated into Russian, Spanish, Japanese and Korean.

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