Cynthia Arrieu-King

Cynthia Arrieu-King is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and a former Kundiman fellow. Her books are People are Tiny in Paintings of China (Octopus Books 2010) and Manifest (Switchback 2013). She also co-wrote a chapbook with Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis By a Year Lousy with Meteors (Dream Horse Press 2012). She runs a radio show through WLFR ( about writers and writing in South Jersey and the tri-state called The Last Word, available soon on iTunes as a podcast.


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.