Four Poems by Alessandra Bava




After Francesca Woodman’s Untitled, Boulder CO, 1972-75, black and white silver gelatin print on barite paper


Your torso leans against a wooden wall,

light floods over your nudity, over the seven

clothespins inflicting pain to your nipples, to

your navel, to your body, as the Seven Sorrows.


Your pose is so statuesque, your hand and snake

ring rest on your bold thighs, your patch of pubic

hair radiates darkness. A chasm opens engulfing 

you, as the resilient ivy climbing its way up gasps for 


air. “I’m always available,” you would note.

Your were your own poetic model, surrounded by 

symbolic motifs. A feminist version of a wounded 

saint, terribly iconic and so hard to pin down. 

























Mrs. God


                       “There must be more to life than to simply stay alive.”

                                    – William Faulkner


Diffused rage pervades

     your empyrean collections.

         Yours were such constellations

              as Sleeping Beauty, Jupiter(‘s


Abuse), Padded Bras, Sirius(’s

      Lines) and Colored Panties, 

           You were an awesome poet,

                 more so a woman.


Your words’ whip strokes bore

     the hardness of stalagmites,

          a rocking madness so

                sensible. A melancholia of


the senses nailed you at

      that table where you sat

           hammering words as heavy

                 as god. You knew you were


more than Mrs. Dog: a 

      humane deity with huge

          wings, boasting the mastery

              of a goldsmith and the skill


of a carpenter. You cut 

       yourself the most precious

           glass coffin, made of words 

               glistening with impetuous 


Beauty. Like

       Snow White your sapphire 

             eyes pierce us still

                  with peacock cries.


(for Anne Sexton)







Soon the Flesh 

(A Plath Cento)


Stasis in darkness

a pure acetylene Virgin

all wants, desire.


Stepping from this skin

I shall take no bite of your body

I cannot touch you.


How  the sun’s poultice draws 

on my inflammation.

You flicker. 


A garden of mouthings.

Sweetness, sweetness.

Taste it, dark red! 









I read poems women wrote in foreign languages,

songs made of shreds, insanity, winds, veins, stars, 

storms. They draw me in cities I’ve never been 

before –  Budapest, Moscow, Buenos Aires – but 

everything seems so familiar: Kashnitz’s walls,

Tsvetaeva’s firmament, Pizarnik’s archipelagos. 

I feel the Danube flow in my blood, the Red Square

open up a gap in my heart, milongas echo deep within.

It hurts to be a poet. It hurts to bear lips full of words,

a throat choked by swan’s songs, teeth awaiting to devour

beauty, a tongue intent at swallowing oceans, eyes craving 

starlit galaxies and restless feet ready to walk the thin  

– simply untranslatable – line. 






Alessandra Bava is a poet and a translator. Her work has appeared in journals such as Gargoyle, Plath Profiles, THRUSH and Waxwing. Her chapbooks They Talk About Death,Diagnosis and Love & Other Demons have been published in the States. She is currently writing the biography of a contemporary American poet.




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