Selected by Mish Murphy, Assistant Poetry Editor

Avra Elliott: Three Poems

A Wedding to End the World

the couple declared after billboards
scheduled a corresponding apocalypse.
Hey Paco Lips, they call the cat hiding
claim him as a first born, and mambo
to music played by gut strings. It’s strange,
the way the animals behave
with salmon skies and bruised mountains,
roadrunners eat bats for last supper,
foxes bark with the neighbors’ abandoned
lab. Guests leave when the tornado
sirens begin, and the groom makes a joke
about hurricane season being over. Alone
beneath a wind beaten canopy, the newlyweds
eat cake, sand swirls crusted into icing,
unpleasant sugar. The groom
says they are safe, because the beasts would
flee if this turbulent sky meant the end.
The bride knows better, they will all embrace
the inevitable, she cracks
the earth with her heels and plays
her part in the destruction.


Black Holes

-After “Black Hole Blues” by Janna Levin

When we listened to the universe
our ears were bent by a black hole
we were compressed, imploded,
collapsed upon ourselves with recent grief
for every star. A pin prick. Pain in our sky.

A woman in black leather plays
the sound of a black hole eating
another shadow. A man you interview
speaks of exploring Mars, and you imagine
him exploring. You’ve collapsed on yourself.

It isn’t the death you’d imagine,
the attractive woman in leather
pants says, You aren’t sucked
in, you are bent around.

Bismuth lights. That’s how you imagine
it. The blue of your first crush’s eyes
the purple of your prose, the pink.
The woman is in red, and black
holes. Soles of leather boots, click

a new image. This is a graph
of measured waves.
It comes
that way, this feeling, of cosmic
unmooring. The wanting to be
sucked into shadows and crushed

no one knows
what’s on the other side
she says, there could be entry
to other universes.
We may never
have these firsts again.

(originally published in Quarter After Eight)


Freya’s Pussy

He stole it twice,
once on our wedding night,
again when I’d left, so now
my chariot runs crooked
missing my favorite cat
and his blue eyes.

It is said virginity is a construct
in which case he only stole the cat.
And not even that.

He will return. They all do. It all does.

A black kitten tries to nurse
my swollen breast. Another territory
he once claimed. Now that I share
they are once more and always have been

Goddess of fertility and lust
I was married when I was pregnant
I say with a wink. A love child.
An opening added to my body
when she kicked out like a little god.

I’ll teach her
to love her wants
and guard her loves.

What are you looking for?