Cynthia Cruz

Milkweed Lullaby and Radio Lullaby
March 20, 2023 Cruz Cynthia



The days were endless,


The violence, a golden thread
stitched through everything.


We played ponies.


I chose the most
delicate, the most


dangerous. And at night
ice cream and birthday


cake, a riot of
tiny white flowers.


Bright paper masks
to hide the mind behind.


At the edge of what
I can not ever


Plumbago, lantana, trumpet-
vine. A glorious magenta


 I don’t think she had a good friend,
Animals, maybe.


We never left the house
and were raised


in absolute and utter




People coming in the summer
to visit. And never
came back.


And in darkening weather
I cower inside the yellowing
field, listening—


I am crawling
the long corridor
back to the room
where the shattering




The spinning of a radio dial.
Memory set back to zero.


Dead flowers and penny candy
the bright colors of cruelty.


Of childhood: a pile of plush
animals. Sleeping ponies,
tarot cards, model horses.


Tiered yellow cakes, cream
soda, American cigarettes.


We want to see life
as it is experienced
within this soft machine.


The amber body, a mere
vehicle for shame.


Ruin, and the lace-like fabric
of sorrow. Melancholia.


The face changed forever.


Vertiginous, alien.


Fort-Da. Little Hans.
Compulsive repetition.
Lustgewinn. Playing
at the game of death.


The drive inside everything.


I am trying to get back
to the exact moment
where the dangerous
undoing begins.


An infant not held
turns. Feral, animal.
Memory, a spool
of vinyl tape
cut and singed.


They said, You will never


And the men


moving through the rooms
of my dreams—

Cynthia Cruz is the author of seven collection of poems. Back to the Woods, her eighth, is forthcoming in 2023 as is a novella, Steady Diet of Nothing. Disquieting: Essays on Silence, a collection of critical essays exploring the concept of silence as a form of resistance, was published by Book*hug in 2019 and The Melancholia of Class: A Manifesto for the Working Class, an examination of Freudian melancholia and the working class, was published by Repeater Books in 2021.