a cento of cardiac arrestment

she has given me a poisoned heart—

severed the artery,

torn like a pantyhose run.

the blood gushing forth,

the white hand raised to the breast,

               fresh and crisp with blood.

the shape of her breasts,

flattened by gravity.

shapes like full-blown roses

                 stained and lost through age.

a wild horse of a woman,

just an ordinary woman breathing

                 a pink mist in the air.


your plaster cage with desire—

the big bones and the little bones,

                   a cavity that needed filling.

my foolish affection

sticking in my throat.

laugh lines dripping

                     the garden’s dew;

a dusting of lilacs—

powder sooting your blood,

                     vague, romantic impressions.


                       beautifully brutal, brutally honest.

your plaster cage with desire—

a pit overgrown with weeds,

                       the withering garden.

the light was pink…

there’s batter in your heart;

it pounds both our ribs,

like dried peach halves.

her heart beating on my skin,

i said goodbye

                         to my body.

my love it kills me slowly,

this shaking

                   keeps me steady.

simple ferocious



p.s. none of these words are mine to own because this is what’s called a cento, a form of poetry that is entirely composed of other authors’ words! i only own the rights to the way in which these beautiful words are arranged and punctuated. thank you to julie, my intro to creative writing professor, for exposing me to this idea!

p.p.s. these words belong to the following individuals

[Wolf Alice; Rick Barot; Elizabeth Bishop; Maxine Chernoff & Paul Hoover; Sandra Cisneros; Brian Doyle; Denise Duhamel et al.; Cornelius Eady; Marie Howe; Brenda Miller; Erin Murphy; Sharon Olds; Joshua Rickin; Theodore Roethke; David Shumate; Marisa Silver; Chuck Strangward; Ryan Van Meter; Stacey Waite; Virginia Wells]

{all photo credit belongs to the original owner, & frida kahlo with her very own plaster cage of desire}


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