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  November 2019
volume 16 number 2
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  featured poets
  Stefanie Bennett
  Jack G. Bowman
  Deborah Edler Brown
  Sir Mark Bruback
  Chella Courington
  Rich Follett
  Alex Hernandez
  Cynthia Linville
  Rick Lupert
  William Mohr
  Larissa Shmailo
  Michael Dwayne Smith
  Martin Willitts, Jr
  mailing list
Cynthia Linville November 2019



photo by richard lee miller

    Cynthia Linville has lived in London, New York, San Francisco, and outside of Washington DC but returned to live in her hometown of Sacramento. She has taught in the English Department at California State University, Sacramento since 2000. Linville served as Poetry Editor of Poetry Now from 2008-2010 and served as Managing Editor of Convergence: an online journal of poetry and art ( from 2008-2018.
    She frequently reads her work in northern California, often in collaboration with musicians, and has received three mini-grants from Poets & Writers. Her work has appeared in many publications and several anthologies. Her two books of collected poems, The Lost Thing (2012) and Out of Reach (2014), are available from Cold River Press.
    Cynthia has been nominated for a Pushcart and has been a featured artist on Sacramento365: (
    She invented a poetic form, the Linvillanelle, which is profiled here:
Medusa's Kitchen



When We Were Girls

Inspired by the novel Girls by Emma Cline

We always walked like we weren’t wearing any shoes
our candied faces answering all our own questions
our expressions downshifting into silence.

It’s out of fashion now –
that kind of hunger that can expose you
that numinous detritus against the teeth

that voltage of dislocation
the tragic insufficiency of known quantities
the sad limbo of trying not to fall.

We complicated our lives with persistent conspiracies
we had to shape ourselves around
lies thickening our tongues.

Just a rearrangement of the same tragedies
in the dingy ecru of borrowed rooms
like a movie we didn’t really want to watch

None of that was a gift.


None of that was a gift
only a movie we didn’t really want to watch
long out of fashion now.

Tightrope walking over a sad limbo
trying not to fall
not wearing any shoes.

The dingy ecru of borrowed rooms
shaped us
in tragically insufficient ways.

We vibrated with dislocation
rearranging the same tragedies
complicating our lives.

Able to downshift our expressions
candy our faces
answer all our own questions.

That numinous detritus can expose you.


Such exposure is out of fashion now.

The dislocation of dingy rooms
now rattles our teeth.

We now know our own shape
candy our faces less thickly.

Lies, insufficiencies, conspiracies
we have downshifted into silence.

These are known quantities.
We have rearranged the old tragedies.

No more tightrope.
No more movie.

We walk away like all of that was a gift.

copyright 2019 Cynthia Linville