3 poems by Cassie Ciopryna

“I wish I could transfer my pain

to you—just for one day
so you would know how it feels,”
my dad jokes as I laugh

at his groans while he gets up from
the couch. His bones crack while he walks
into the kitchen; I pretend his knees
are all I think about as he speaks

of pain. But I try to imagine
how his pain must feel. I can’t come close
to imagining his hurt from my mother,
their almost twenty-five

years of marriage given away
to my fifteen year old boyfriend.
I can’t picture the guilt he carried two
years ago before telling me what

he knew, what he was too afraid
would wound me. His uncertainty.
I knew that night when he looked
me in the eyes exactly what he

was going to say, what I had been
blocking from reality for years,
and that it had to be said. Tonight, though,

I know all he’s really talking about is this pain
in his knees from the past fifty-two years of hard
labor, football, truck driving. That burden

he carried before telling me could never erase
all the times he held me to the sky with strong arms.

It All Makes Sense Now

It’s certain things that start to add up
after you know for sure that your mother
is fucking your boyfriend—and that he’s fucking
her back. Like how after your parents’ divorce
she decided to go back on the pill,
bought that white gold band, a pink
stone surrounded by diamonds
to wear on her left ring finger because
she “didn’t want to be bothered.” It’s
how she bought him cartons of cigarettes
along with her own, and she wore one of
his old blue long sleeve shirts, the one
with holes near the wrists, to sleep in.
Just because it was that comfortable.

And then it’s this one memory—
the one you don’t want to say
aloud to anybody but your therapist
because one person is enough asking
you, did you really not know? When you
woke up in the middle of the night
to find your boyfriend fell asleep
watching TV in your mother’s bed
(again) while you were sleeping
in your own, and one of those nights
when you woke to check if he was still sleeping
on the couch, you found him naked
in the living room, covering himself
with a towel while she hid her exposed
body under covers, you should know.

You can’t remember the words they said
anymore, but the rest plays in your mind
like a silent film: you accuse, she cries.
He denies and consoles you back to your
bedroom to now make love to you. Kisses
kept lips busy. You were reassured.

I Know You Cheated With my Mother

I feel your eyes and look away
as you lean over the dining room chair.
While visiting your mother, it’s the first time
I see you since I found out the truth.
Somehow your messed up love still shows.
I stare at your sister, don’t allow tears while
remembering, yet want to forget
what you did to me. I hear you
pick the glass off the table; ice crushes
between your teeth. You can’t seem to
open your mouth; it can no longer tell lies.
It’s the reason you stare at me now,
believing your gaze can heal us.

Believing your gaze may heal us,
it’s the reason you stare at me now.
Open your mouth. It can no longer tell lies
between your teeth. You can’t seem to
pick the glass off the table. Ice crushes
what you did to me. I hear you
remembering, yet yearn to forget.
I stare at your sister. Don’t allow tears while
somehow your messed up love still shows.
I see you since I found out the truth
while visiting your mother; it’s the first time.
As you lean over the dining room chair,
I feel your eyes and look away.

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Published by

Jeremiah Walton

Oi ! I’m Jeremiah Walton. For the past ~3 years I’ve been bopping around the U.S. between hitchhiking + rubber tramping, running traveling bookstore Books & Shovels + indie publisher Nostrovia! Press. My focus is in-person distribution at open mics + features + busking. Word of mouth is a fulfilling & feels to be a more intimate promotional process. I’ve featured at the NYC Poetry Festival + San Francisco Lit Crawl + Snoetry Cleveland + Beast Crawl Oakland + This Lil Lit Fest + street corners across the country. There’s a handful of my books floating around the country, but most recently is “From Here Til Utopia” (Ghost City Press). Raccoons + coyotes are my companions. Hope you dig the poems, much love, thank you❤

2 thoughts on “3 poems by Cassie Ciopryna”

  1. Reblogged this on Nostrovia! Poetry and commented:
    by Cassie Ciopryna

    “I wish I could transfer my pain

    to you—just for one day
    so you would know how it feels,”
    my dad jokes as I laugh

    at his groans while he gets up from
    the couch. His bones crack while he walks
    into the kitchen; I pretend his knees
    are all I think about as he speaks

    of pain. But I try to imagine
    how his pain must feel. I can’t come close
    to imagining his hurt from my mother,
    their almost twenty-five

    years of marriage given away
    to my fifteen year old boyfriend.
    I can’t picture the guilt he carried two
    years ago before telling me what

    he knew, what he was too afraid
    would wound me. His uncertainty.
    I knew that night when he looked
    me in the eyes exactly what he

    was going to say, what I had been
    blocking from reality for years,
    and that it had to be said. Tonight, though,

    I know all he’s really talking about is this pain
    in his knees from the past fifty-two years of hard
    labor, football, truck driving. That burden

    he carried before telling me could never erase
    all the times he held me to the sky with strong arms.

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