Issue Five Featured Poem – Ava C. Cipri


                      Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either,
                      but thought they were nice grand words to say
                                —Lewis Carroll

Here is the encyclopedia where I learn first position
Here is where I begin ballet at 12 in a class of 6-year-olds
Here is where I get my period
Here is where I substitute dance for childhood
Here is studio “B” where I practice
Here is the professional ballet school I left my family for
Here is the barre & mirror & Dame Valentina’s nail marks on my upper thighs
Here is the table where I abandon food
Here is the pointe shoe I kill a hornet with
Here is where I dance to “What a Feeling” and “Eye of the Tiger”
Here is the drugstore where I buy my first box of laxatives
Here is my bus stop between an adult store & strip club
Here is the first boy
Here is my first Swan Lake pas de deux
Here is when I stop menstruating
Here is the dressing room’s square locker I fold into
Here is the fifth girl I fall in love with
Here is the playbill with my name in it
Here is the backstage entrance
Here is sophomore year when I drop out for a dance contract
Here is 77 pounds
Here I leave the ballet company
Here is where the audience sits
Here I read everything by V. C. Andrews
Here I only eat macaroni & cheese
Here I get rid of all the kitchen knives
Here is the surgery table I have my breast reduction on
Here I sit through summer school
Here I enter my third high school
Here is my cap & gown
Here I choose from over 150 majors
Here I decide on Geoscience
Here is the lab where I study rock formations
the microscope lens in my hand
& only then is it transparent
a residue binding
a scorched horizon
a little more
holding out