Ivy Alvarez

Ivy Alvarez is the author of Mor­tal (Wash­ing­ton, DC: Red Morn­ing Press, 2006). A recip­i­ent of writ­ing res­i­den­cies from Mac­Dow­ell Colony (USA), Hawthorn­den Cas­tle (UK), and Fun­da­cion Val­paraiso (Spain), her work is pub­lished in jour­nals and antholo­gies in many coun­tries and online, with indi­vid­ual poems trans­lated into Russ­ian, Span­ish, Japan­ese, and Korean. www.ivyalvarez.com.




The secret sister

She appeared in the meadow, two hours after dawn, night­gown flut­ter­ing in her wake as the sun gilded the hills, the mist rose pale blue, a scent­less smoke. Where she stood, she was a col­umn of white and she her­self pale, lips blu­ing, too, hair a black water­fall. Turn­ing to look at her, the cold grabbed at the skin of my belly, my calves. In a minute, she was younger by a year. You could see it, like tak­ing a watch pin between fin­ger and thumb, and wind­ing it back­wards. Shrink­ing into her clothes, hair ris­ing, skin tight­en­ing, smooth­ing, plump­ing up, chest-height, waist-height, knee-height, the reeds teas­ing me with glimpses of her. Then she was a Moses in her swad­dling clothes, then the small­est embryo, then a stain. She did not have a name.


The Museum of Inex­plic­a­ble History

For six months I arranged museum dio­ra­mas; in plac­ards explained the scenes; led bewil­dered tourists through small rooms. The pun­gent oranges and bright, green wings, ebony mocha okay chok­ing down cof­fees, teas, dis­tant gazes. Now I am safe in the deep V of a week­day, cra­dled like a silk­worm, sus­pended, watch­ing the scene below. The beards of the young men glisten’d with wet, it ran from their long hair, green trousers and pur­ple velour sleeves. Queered courtiers, cour­te­sans, slip­pered feet dent­ing stone steps. When Alice steals away and con­soles the Duchess’s baby, it meta­mor­phoses into a pig and runs away from her, runs away. As I would, if I could remem­ber. I do remem­ber. That I, just ten, became the mys­tery of course, reverse, twitch, emerge. In the dis­tance, a chim­ing swish of chintz, of pas­tel poly­ester: the Avon Lady treks door to door. Pink­ness announces itself, calm and self-important. Peo­ple are sharks, while all the wild pro­tected lim­i­nal woods hoist their nets, weigh­ing the har­vest. Rough chaff husks falling, blow­ing away. Some­thing offen­sive: a revolver is cooked into a codex. I read it closely. It’s Jan­u­ary: time to go.