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Any Ordinary Hell

Read by Lea Marshall

The lucky girls do not have to remember
their bodies. They walk to the open-air market
each morning to buy a croissant and the Times.
In the newspaper they read about women sent
like brown paper packages to a civilized country
to lie down in grease and men’s spit, their legs
propped open. There is a menu of services.
They are tattooed with what they owe. The lucky girls
are all reading Jane Eyre. They watch expensive cable
to see women in togas learn how to fuck. It is
another century. The starlet’s heavy breasts heave up
against her chin so that she throws her head back
in pleasure. In Spain, a woman in red pleather boots
leans into a car. The lucky girls clutch their maps, pretty
as painted sugar bowls. They murmur, where do we go after this.

Brittany Cavallaro’s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Gettysburg Review, and Best New Poets 2011, among others. A finalist for the 2011 Ruth Lilly fellowship, she is the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference as well as a Distinguished Graduate Student Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is a doctoral student.