after ariana reines

Isabelle stephen

collages by Chloe Cusimano

Chloe Cusimano, Joshua Tree + Salvation Mountain i, 2018, 35mm, collage.


after Ariana Reines






The emergency is me

as all women are.


See for a while

I was just waiting to happen

like Marguerite Duras.

That jaded old lady

says her jacked-up face

was ravaged overnight.

& then I met this guy


& I started having these dreams

where they called me

Cassandra. Cassandra,

like daughter of Hecuba.

Like fell asleep in a temple

& got licked on by snakes.

Like fell more in favour

with a boy than the sun,

& paid the price.


Afterwards I told Ms. Duras

& she said,

Sounds fake but ok.






I am my own emergency

as all women should be.


See these days

nobody believes me,

which is of course

my newfound birthright.

& all my dreams are coming true


& I keep seeing a wooden horse

hanging on the horizon.

For some reason all of us

present at this apocalypse

are dressed to the nines.

In a dove-white gown

& his bloodstained jacket

I can only watch each night

while they disembowel

the heavens & unmake

his every made thing.


This morning I asked Ms. Duras

like when would come

our day of reckoning.

It is a dirty business

being in love, she said, then:

Since when do you

speak French?






I love my emergency

as all women do.


So you see now

my man & I are fated,

this curse to be

the only thing we two create.

& so I will care for it like a child


& I mean I’m hoping he dreams

up something as true

& as devastating

as the fall of Troy

since there’s no hope

in hell he’ll leave me

& there’s no hope

in heaven he’ll let me go

though he probably should.

I don’t see that happening,

but there’s no law says

there’s no hope on earth.


Like what would you do,

if you knew the cause

of the carnage?

Ms. Duras, lying, says,

I’d call the fucking police.

Chloe Cusimano, Joshua Tree + Salvation Mountain ii, 2018, 35mm, collage.

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