Ava C. Cipri

No Return Address


For God while sleeping,

said the poet to the analyst

from the garden.

Kind sir: these woods,

where I live

in this honorable House of the Laurel Tree

with mercy for the greedy

in the deep museum

I remember

the road back;

the loss ingredient;

some foreign letter.


The Maiden without hands

consorting with angels,

to lose the earth

again and again and again;

it is a spring afternoon

wanting to die

just once.



Killing the spring—

Angels of the love affair:

the assassin

the addict

the stand-ins


Angels of blizzards and blackouts:

the hoarder

the one-legged man

the other


Angels of fire and genitals:

the furies,

how we danced

the fury of cocks

when man enters woman

the fury of beautiful bones

the fury of abandonment




the room of my life:

the dead heart


the fire thief.


I remember,

the locked doors

keeping the city



All my pretty ones,

the falling dolls

there you were

a curse against elegies

praying on

a love letter

written in a burning building.



The operation:

When the glass of my body broke,

the division of parts,

the abortion. The lost lie.


This cento is sourced from Anne Sexton’s titles in The Complete Poems, Mariner Books (1999).

Ava C. Cipri is a poetry editor for The Deaf Poets Society: An Online Journal of Disability Literature & Art. In her sister life she is a Reiki practitioner, belly dancer, dog trainer and collector of tarot decks. Ava holds an MFA from Syracuse University and currently teaches writing at Duquesne University. Ava’s poetry and nonfiction appears or is forthcoming in Cimarron, decomP magazinE, The Fem, Rust + Moth, and The Yellow Chair Review, among others.

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