portion of the artwork for Ava C. Cipri's poem

Not That Woman
Ava C. Cipri

I’ve crossed Pittsburgh’s bridges in my beat-up Dodge Neon
into other townships leaving the inner city.
I’d drive deep into suburbia parking
under the street lights of Ross Township’s North Park before dawn.

On McKnight Rd., sometimes McDonald’s drive-through
for flaccid tiered-pancakes with imitation syrup, but mostly
it was my stash of Hostess Ho Hos from the glove compartment.
I could eat so many. They went down easy,
but most importantly after months of trial
they came up the easiest.

Wiping my mouth, I’d readjust myself
in the bathroom mirror
pulling my hair back in a tight ponytail.
I felt cleansed and high
from the endorphins that purging brings.
Even now, I remember that rush,
better than any drink, drug, or sex.

What I hated was the day                    in front of me
with its endless possibilities.              There was never enough space
in my body, so I looked                        elsewhere.

Sometimes other bodies                      sometimes travel.

Back at the car I’d take my antidepressant and mood stabilizer
then light a Marlboro
while playing Marlene Dietrich’s husky “Falling in Love Again.”
I looked like every other female-running-SUV-driving suburbanite,
and that was exactly what I wanted.

I wasn’t that woman                             who couldn’t make a phone call, couldn’t
open her mail                                         or face debt collectors. I wasn’t her,
the one                                                     who lost a job, a car, a house, and a husband.

Nor was I the woman with a graduate degree
on medical assistance and food stamps. But there, not that woman,
I could eat what I wanted; I could manifest my day:
                                                                  running past the sound of a good tennis match and
children feeding geese.                        Refueling at the boathouse, I watched the lake rise and fall
as the seasons passed.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 50 | Fall/Winter 2017