Queen of Swords | Ava C. Cipri

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Beware! Ava C. Cipri’s Queen of Swords is not a straightforward book (or body) of poems. Not sequential. Not straight. Witness instead, a fluctuating non-binary body, a hybrid akimbo, an ethereal ghost, shivery in the awareness of its own naked multiplicity, its many losses (not lacking)—but vibrating its way into being—the book you imagined before you could read.     

          ~Pj Carlisle


Because Ava C. Cipri is an accomplished poet who also loves words, Queen of Swords uses a beautiful variety of poetic forms, including experimental verse, ghazal, and tanka, to weave a sensual spell.     

          ~Angele Ellis


Myth and symbol pursue erotic power with deep intelligence all the way to the hilt of Ava C. Cipri’s Queen of Swords.     

           ~Lisa Lewis



Ava C. Cipri is a poetry editor for The Deaf Poets Society: An Online Journal of Disability Literature & Art, and teaches writing at Duquesne University. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University, where she served on the staff of Salt Hill. She is proud to be among the Madwomen in the Attic taking writing workshops at Carlow University. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her award-winning tanka sequence “From the Barre” is featured in AHA Books’ anthology Twenty Years Tanka Splendor. Ava is anthologized in Red Moon Press’ Contemporary Haibun Anthology and SUNY’s Unruly Catholic Women Writers II. Her poetry and prose appears or is forthcoming in Cimarron, Cider Press Review, FRiGG, Menacing Hedge, Rust + Moth, and Stirring’s Manticore: Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities anthology, among others. Her second chapbook is forthcoming spring 2018 (Stranded Oak Press). Next reincarnation she wants to be drawn with wings. She resides at: www.avaccipri.com and tweets at @AvaCCipri




 Peach Ghazal

Tonight’s half-moon is vacant and pitted like a peach:
Your navel’s fine hairs graze my mouth like that peach.

How to not forget your belly round with child,
Ready to drop. Your pheromones a grove of peaches.

Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass: between two suits
His bather on the lawn; her skin, subtle and peachy.

From Japan’s Momotaro to England’s James
¾Traditional tales of boys and an enormous peach.

T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock in rolled up trousers,
Seeking the eternal, do I dare to eat a peach?

Tight buds wait out the last three frosts. Spring sonata:
From branch to branch
                            Blossoms dry and drop beyond reach.

Night tears from its corners. The newborn weight;
Her crown’s fontanel akin to that of a bruised peach.