Poetry Suite by E.G. Cunningham

Editor Carrie Ivy, Poetry, March 16th, 2015

"...the king & the redhead sip proof from blue glass, radio on."

e.g. cunningham poem Conner Lyons photo nailed magazine
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’96. family reunion & winter Christians. Beach house of strangers & holiday guilt. My parents are here: the king & the redhead sip proof from blue glass, radio on. Honey ham & a pineapple glaze baking. I run through halls with unnamed cousins. Outside our soft limbs snap shoreward to damp. We scale rocks: & the surf not over the breaker but dusk & cold. I doubt the first starfish: its texture its brine too stubble & mute. I pry the live hand from its façade. The brightest cuts, the loudest remarks, have nothing to do with love

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he would work for twelve hours. He still does. For years all I saw was dispassion, was a space at the table. The best car in town. Pink skates for Christmas. For a while, I despised the concept: enterprise. Entrepreneur. Spit a name on it: workaholic. Some nights he’d come home & it was a glass of milk & bed. Some nights he’d come home. Sometimes at dinner he’d laugh. Other levees: beer, martinis. That’s one part of the story. Another: he never stopped. I breathed Rome air for years. My fingers knew piano. I learned above all not to cower, because of my father

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having known the pleasure of carte blanche. Having known the spike of the punch swelling to warm. & mistaking those chemical veneers for works of art. Faint is how the eleventh story shook me. After two, after tequila & strangers. Alone on the balcony, the temp plumbed twenty & dropping, the pit in me a hardening pulp while the others shoot gold flecks over granite counters. Fifty, one hundred feet down. To a swath of deafening blacktop. Inside me are saloon doors swinging half of the story. They keep on for eternity. Only later do I remember getting home. The triangle inside of me says jump

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foreclosure was the nightlight gone dark. Flatland could stumble me through but couldn’t snapshot the forgone lawn, my mother’s dug up impatiens. The Catholic fights, the key cuts, now buried along the outer wall. The next time home I pulled into a foreign drive, my father’s crown visible from the duplex window while I idled, headlights off, pretty-pleasing my resolve. I’d promised to come back. To talk to the house. & stood before the screen door, halfway there, poinsettia in hand

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Header image courtesy of photographer, Conner Lyons.

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e.g. cunningham port nailed magazineE.G. Cunningham grew up in Rome, Italy and Mount Dora, Florida. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from BANG!Drunken BoatThe VoltaPropeller MagazineSAND: A Berlin Literary JournalBlackbox Manifold, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently a PhD Candidate in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia in Athens.
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Carrie Ivy

Carrie Ivy (formerly Carrie Seitzinger) is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Ivy is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.