Constellation of a Missing Girl

Anita Olivia Koester


after Jamaal May


Girl with glitter wings
painted on either cheek, spread
purple up cheek bones.

Girl with pink ribbons
tied to handle bars, girl
with purple bike lock

and public transit orbit.
Girl with NASA sticker and
Harvard flag. Girl soft

as molding clay. Girl
as not yet drowned by girl.
Girl with strawberry seeds

stuck in her teeth, girl
flossing with Polaroids of her
father, fatherless girl.

Girl as weft-facing as
slender as silver thread, girl
with button mouth.

Girl with bitten lip
flipping backwards off rubber swings.
Girl cutting up milk cartons,

girl searching the faces
of other girls, girl without scream
when needed. Girl

as gradations of silence.
Girl as cartilage and carrion.
Girl with switchblade,

used to carve initials in maples.
Girl blowing secrets into glass bottles,
girl as not yet drop out.

Girl as a thick grey feather
duster feather, torn girl
fluttering in smoke and whispers.

Girl with boom box playing
Madonna, dancing in the rain
singing Like a Prayer.


Anita Olivia Koester is a Chicago poet and author of the chapbooks Marco Polo (Hermeneutic Chaos Press), Apples or Pomegranates forthcoming with Porkbelly Press, and Arrow Songs which won Paper Nautilus’ Vella Chapbook Contest. Her poems have been nominated for Best New Poets and Pushcart Prizes, and won Midwestern Gothic’s 2016 Lake Prize in Poetry, So to Speak’s Annual Poetry Contest, and the Jo-Anne Hirshfield Memorial Poetry Award. She is currently the poetry editor for Duende. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Vinyl, CALYX Journal, Tahoma Literary Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Her work has been supported by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and SAFTA. Visit her online:

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