In the City of Zirma

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September 23, 2019 by The Citron Review

by Rachel Andoga

There is no puma that some girl does not raise, as a whim.
Italo Calvino, “Cities and Signs,” Invisible Cities


The cat unfurls in full stretch, trim
and muscled. The city repeats
itself into being, in

every stride, the click-and-slap of feet
on cobblestone, tile, brick,
converging in the shadow of concrete

skyscrapers brimming with lunatics
who wake to mornings always the same,
but feeling some pressure, a trick

of atmosphere: an illness, a game
they play without knowing.
They watch the sun rise every day

and feel no better for it, bowing
beneath that undarkening weight
and tugging on a face like clothing

worn from over-washing. What hurts
cannot be cured by early morning,
even in Zirma. No smell of cut

flowers: just the world crawling
beneath itself, all skunk and slumber.
Beneath the city, subway cars dawdle

while the girl rises from her
uneasy dreams to ready the day,
as, behind her, the puma purrs.


Rachel Andoga is a poet from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her poems have appeared in journals including Third Coast, Sundog Lit, and Arcadia, which awarded her the Dead Bison Editor’s Prize for Poetry in 2016. She teaches and writes in Frederick, Maryland.


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