The 2River View 27.2 (Winter 2023)

Catherine Arra

The Little Match Girl at 50

In the forest of middle age,
childhood poison overtook her.

Motherless, unprotected, she never learned
to leave places she was not loved,
recognize predators who would steal her light.

A marriage mistaken for safety. Three kids later,
her duty to sacrifice laid her bare.

Poverty of thought like a long winter’s want
crippled her, kept her frozen in place.
She found solace in fantasy—

vodka bliss, opioid freefalls.
Thought sex without love was intimacy.

She imagined the fairy tale hearth and home,
nurture, nourishment. The one good man
with the magic to save her,

burned the last of her own light
for illusion.

Magic Man

We all create boxes no matter how delicate and beautiful. ~Josh Davis

What invisible wounding bleeds you this way,
searching Metaworld, launching selfies like a
match girl firing up fancy, burning out the
spirit flame for a fix, a cure, a tethered,
grounded gravity, binding you to life lest
you spin weightlessly out of body, alone?

Right. You want to be adored, cooed, a worshipped
cooked-up imposter, cartoon player, Facebook
fashioned avatar—pin-up, chic bait, rock star.
Dream it. Go all in. Make your boxes, write the
scripted illusions. Build the stage sets. Pose coy.
Post, and wait for those hearts of cyber solace.

Block me. Delete me. Try to forget real time
or how I’ve seen you naked, more ways than one.

Catherine Arra is the author of four full-length collections and three chapbooks. Her newest work—Solitude, Tarot & the Corona Blues—is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. Arra teaches and facilitates local writing groups in Upstate New York. website

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