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An Enormous Number of Possible Configurations

Margaret Cipriano


We believed in starting small so we examined ourselves in the light of a hundred different kitchens, and with stunning alacrity, concluded we were just some planetary ache. A working out of particles. What a dreamy trapeze, he says. What ordinary lonelys, I reply. Conversation around knives is like that, one must be quick to point out the obvious. We wonder if there weren’t some kind of better penance, if we couldn’t static ourselves into a worthwhile fire.

We do.

After, there’s a lot of cleaning to do. I named this self so & so and now regret it. He regrets his teeth. We’re still holding hands but there’s ash in our mouths and a crow rubbernecks us from the tree outside our window like a noteworthy mother, doesn’t trust us to avoid the sink. Can you swim? he asks as he holds my head under the faucet. Yes, I say and start to gargle. I have never looked up the word perfect, and that must say something about my chances here. I try it out in a sentence: You look most perfect in a stranger’s body. He smiles like there’s a horseshoe in his belly. He dries my face with the back of his hand. Hey pretty tinderbox, he says, is the stove on?


Margaret Cipriano is from Chicago, IL and currently lives in Columbus, OH where she is an MFA candidate at The Ohio State University. Her visual and written work has appeared or is forthcoming in Quarterly West, The Adroit Journal, DIAGRAM, Ninth Letter, The Nashville Review, West Branch, Copper Nickel and others. She serves as the Managing Editor of The Journal.

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