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

Thinking to Myself Post-Op at Father’s Bedside
Ava C. Cipri

I want to know why
you identify with Bruce Springsteen’s “The Streets of Philadelphia”
& U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name.”
The roads we crossed, traveled,
lived on, & abandoned.
Our heads always turning back in their direction.

There’s so much to say … I’m happiest when I’m a king dancing
in drag as Bruce Springsteen, Michael Hutchence, & Prince.

I want to tell you that I love Rita Hayworth, but no,
I love her the way you loved her.
How to tell you this …
the most erotic striptease can be a woman
removing only her gloves, a woman
who stands reading in the library stacks,
and like Hayworth’s Gilda, I remember, it was all in her eyes.
It’s safe to love her because she is dead.

I want to say, here, here is my lover …
who introduced me to PJ Harvey,
that I shopped with in the Gap’s men’s department.

Here is the lover I first partnered with in ballet
to Balanchine’s Jewels, & her, I.

Here is the lover that left me
when the biopsy came back, before the surgery.

Here is the lover whose hand I held
crossing Charles Bridge in Prague.

Here, all these women you never met,
are part of me, & I never gave you the chance.

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