105.1: Cynthia Arrieu-King:: Eternity & Marriage & Dog Called by a Name Not His But More Apt 105

Eternity is the world in which “endings are scarce.” But in our human world, endings seem all too common. For the speaker in Cynthia Arrieu-King’s “Eternity,” there’s something lovable about this human world of endings: the way a white expanse of snow is plowed over, the way man-made materials mediate our experience. In each of these intriguing prose poems, Arrieu-King thrusts two different worlds into relief against each other. In “Marriage,” the material symbol of fidelity is thrown as jewelry into the bay. This concrete symbol of commitment is juxtaposed with the swans, which thwart their own status as romantic tropes by being interested not in the future but in the moment. In “Dog Called by a Name Not His But More Apt,” the domestic sphere is bifurcated into the dreamlike and the harsh, the not-there and the there. In this final poem, what’s not there is felt just as much if not more than what’s actually there; the snow that’s yet to come and the dreams of a dog hold less mystery than the very real laugh of a neighbor. The speaker’s ability to imagine the dog’s dreams makes them another man-made creation. Which brings us back to the two worlds set up in “Eternity.” Though the man-made glove makes the experience of touch a little more difficult to apprehend, the experience is more valuable because of its subtlety and uncertainty. It ignites the imagination, that most man-made of all things, which inspires Arrieu-King’s—and, in turn, the reader’s—love for these worlds. S. Whitney Holmes


I decided I would keep large half-shells as plates and never think of a man-made plate again. The world in which that would happen. I imagine us eating out of these. A broth. Everyone asks why there is no furniture in this house. It’s because I want the torso and not the clothes. The sublime and not the subway doors closing before we can walk on. The heat of the gaze and the gaze, not these sunglasses. Here, endings are scarce, the windows braced. But I love too the snow leveled off and pushed against the vans toward a revealed melting, the before. I love your looking for a place dry enough to step on and never getting your foot wet despite the ice lagoons. I love your hand reaching for my hand, how it takes me a minute to realize you are wearing gloves because I am wearing gloves.


I tried to dump this whole day out into my palm. A searing vocal bridge that never touched down. The orange peels and old parsley overwhelming. Throwing jewelry into the bay. Imagining throwing useless jewelry over the railing. Clouds with intentions like rags you saved for a purpose. The photographed swans doubling as this album cover: Their soft look peering into the camera, yellow-billed. As if to say, excuse me, I’m swimming here. As if to say, yes my life has a focus, the soft lobbing of bread into the pond. Gauging bread density by the arc flight of sandwich rolls. Or the slate sheets of water. A castle looms in the back where spoons lie polished, ribbons steamed. Antlers point to eight stars simultaneously inside the foyer and out in the forest. You have to be a certain type to fit in on this water, the birds say. Interested in this moment. Still. Or they gaze and honk.

Dog Called by a Name Not His But More Apt

That time we came home and the dog had eaten the kaleidoscope and dreams rumbled, trapped in his tummy. Crystalline magpie psychedelic dreams churning to get out. Tiny mylar leaf, red gem-cut plastic type dreams. He shook under the chair and gave us the Lady Di look. The laugh the father upstairs uses to cheer up his daughter—turns out that’s the laugh he uses when the guys are over for football. Turns out that’s the laugh sometimes I hear when the toddler falls down and cries and cries. Meanwhile cold as glass pressed to your face, the townspeople remarked snow was coming, they could feel it, they just could.