The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Cynthia Marie Hoffman’s “Paper Doll Fetus”

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The Paper Doll Fetus Speaks to the Viable Twin in Utero

Days, a week, or two weeks passed before I discerned I was dying and the things which were to be my eyes shriveled up like pricked balloons. It is always night in here. I cannot know if it is you, though something is wringing out my heart (what was to be my heart) my tongue my skin is being ground to a pulp. There was not enough time to rehearse a graceful pose before I was wedged against the wall. I am splayed like a weather vane. Your head is enormous. When did it happen that I am no bigger than your footprint? I am becoming a scrap of parchment on which is scrawled my flattened waxy face. Unfold me. You will find a tiny skeleton stirred into the paper. I am a letter to you, and it says if you held me up to the wind I would flutter away. At times in the future you will feel that something has been lost but you will not remember what it is. No one understands why this is happening. Look at me, you know me better than anyone. I am not angry.

This selection comes from Cynthia Marie Hoffman’s book Paper Doll Fetus, available from Persea Books. Purchase your copy here!

Cynthia Marie Hoffman is the author of Paper Doll Fetus and Sightseer, as well as the chapbook Her Human Costume. Hoffman is a former Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, Director’s Guest at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Arts Board. Her poems have appeared in PleiadesFence, Blackbird,diodeMid-American Review, and elsewhere. She co-edits the online interview series on poetry project books, The Cloudy House ( Visit Cynthia online

Jennifer Hanks is the author of the forthcoming chapbooks Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press) and The Unsteady Planet(Instar Books), a collaboration with illustrator Julie Herndon. Her work has appeared in Arcadia, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Muzzle, Menacing Hedge, PANK, and other journals. She writes an ongoing column, Disorder Reigns, for Arcadia‘s online sundries blog. She is an MFA candidate at the University of New Orleans.


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