The poetry of Cynthia Blank


Sprinkles of water
dance through the grass
like rattlesnakes.

Yellow flowers disappear and reappear.
Cactus fruit opens slowly, and blossoms.

A still sun. Eucalyptus trees
stand tall. Each brushes against the sky.

Through the window an intersection passes.

I think about you
and avoid you
at the same moment
the cars begin to spread.



Sitting on the Grass of Randall’s Island

A little bit of sunshine at twilight is
Your last ounce of love for my grandmother.
It is the way the moon rises over the
East River, though the sun sets in the west.
It’s the way I fold my arms around
my waist on the bench near the daisies
overlooking the waves changing colors.
How I keep walking on the promenade
not paying attention to the men who
call me beautiful, who tell You to bless me.
It is the bridge whose texture I can’t remember
the bridge that stretches over Hell’s Gate.
It is the way I sit on the grass of
Randall’s Island in my bright green dress
appraising the water from the other side
watching myself blossom as my grandmother breaks.




A year ago, today, we went to lunch
at the grill house you liked,
a street over from HaMasger.
I gnawed at a chicken breast,
the knife and fork slipping
from my fingers each time
I tried to cut to the bone.
A strange taste stirred in my mouth
unlike anything I remembered
from the times we’d eaten there before.
And I left feeling sick, a cramp
worming its way through my stomach,
despite the warm January day
and the sun glinting in your black eyes
without a hint of their malice,
only mischief.
I was wearing gold, like a statuette,
a goddess ready to be toppled
and tossed from a six-story pedestal.
My necklace was beaded in green,
and you reminded me it could be
a noose, or an anchor.
The choice was supposed to be mine.
But the clanging silverware
had made me lose control
of the feeling in my fingers.
And you had preordained me as
savior or oppressor, Jesus or Judas,
Madonna slinking into whore.
So what kind of choice was that
to leave in my hands,
when—as I’d finally learn—your grip
was infinitely stronger than mine.

Cynthia Blank received her MFA in Poetry from Bar Ilan University’s Shaindy Rudoff Creative Writing Graduate Program. Her work has been featured most recently in Young Ravens Literary Review, Varnish Journal, Escapism Literary Magazine, and Anapest. More of her work can be found here:

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