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About this poet

Cynthia Cruz was born on a US Air Force Base in Germany and grew up in Northern California. She received a BA from Mills College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.

Cruz is the author of How the End Begins (Four Way Books, 2016), Wunderkammer (Four Way Books, 2014), The Glimmering Room (Four Way Books, 2012), and Ruin (Alice James Books, 2006).

Brenda Shaughnessy writes, “Cruz exposes that glorious hell that is having a history, having a body, remembering everything and trying to make something good of it.”

The recipient of a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in German at Rutgers University. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn, New York. 


How the End Begins (Four Way Books, 2016)
Wunderkammer (Four Way Books, 2014)
The Glimmering Room (Four Way Books, 2012)
Ruin (Alice James Books, 2006)

Final Performance

I crawl along the wet floor
Of my mother's childhood,

A serpent, or a long-buried secret,
In my mother's bisque
Chiffon gown with small stars

Stitched in silver, a crown
Of tinsel pinned into the dark
Blonde knots and dreads of my hair.

I follow a sequin thread of dead
Things, stop when the moon clocks out,
Polish my long nails in the sun.

Copyright © 2010 by Cynthia Cruz. Used by permission of the author.

Copyright © 2010 by Cynthia Cruz. Used by permission of the author.

Cynthia Cruz

Cynthia Cruz

Cynthia Cruz is the author of How the End Begins (Four Way Books, 2016) and Wunderkammer (Four Way Books, 2014).

by this poet


In the rooms of a rundown palace
You said, Ruined. You said, Princess.

You said nothing to me
For three long weeks.

The color of that room
Is eel-black.

When I was a girl and still
German, I stood alone

At the end of the sea.
You may have loved me


Mother’s crimson leather bags
Crammed with saint cards
And tiny glass bottles of liquor.

The bright stitch
Of God’s final coming.

Dirt and dregs, silt and stars.

The sweet song
Of poverty

Rinsing through me
Like the memory
Of a dream.


Death is a beige Mercedes sedan.

I am five and riding
In the back,

Eating small white chocolates,
My long, thin body

Along the butter-
Soft red leather seat.

What I want is to become

What I was
Before the accident.

You think
I’m a rumor.

I move from