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About this Poem 

“I am currently at work on a new collection of poems ‘on’ or ‘around’ ruins—which, in my mind, is a photograph of the end; of junk and rubble, of us with our things. In this ‘snapshot’ is my mother, while she was still in Germany, still a dancer, before she became a woman in exile.”
Cynthia Cruz

Guidebooks for the Dead

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.

Copyright © 2015 by Cynthia Cruz. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Cynthia Cruz. Used with 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

poem

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

poem

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

poem
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,