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“La Prima Victoria”

She expects nothing but to witness our lives
and find kindness and why shouldn’t she
but for the boiling water my partner spills
on my arm and the FUCK’S SAKE
that escapes my mouth now the snout
of the spitting mammal in me.
If there’s a craft to the failing of simple
expectations, I have mastered it
and majestically—but when there’s something
that must be said, it must be said,
Lispector says of a woman entering
an empty room and finding a version
of herself so dark it makes her pause
and really see it, how she’s no better
than the cockroach in her closet
and so she eats it.

—Poetry, November 2012

Idra Novey is the author of Exit, Civilian (University of Georgia Press, 2012), a 2011 National Poetry Series Selection, and The Next Country (Alice James Books, 2008).


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