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Mapping the Imperfect Body by Eleonora Luongo

My hips are tectonic plates
shifting. A heart-shaped bone. 

In the seams: a spiral
vine roots, Fibonacci unravels
into feral cliff road.

serpentine spine carved from stone

I’m strong like the weed
is stubborn. Not beautiful
but alive. Bent back
to an approximation
of flower. Reaching. Still.

The most scenic roads curve madly,
a sweeping dare. Don’t think, drive, don’t
die—trace your hands along this map
this improper bony land. 

each vertebrae a trail leading further in

Sky, asphalt, rock, sea
smash together, break apart.
Skin covers bent bone
this grand costume, hair, makeup: splendor
              (high fashion as armor)
slipped on over horror.


Eleonora Luongo was born and raised in Elizabeth, NJ and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Newark, where she currently works as Communications Director for the School of Arts & Sciences-Newark. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Bellevue Literary Review, Black Telephone Magazine, The Coachella Review, and others, and as part of Arts by the People’s 2022 Moving Words project. She has poems in the following anthologies: No Tender Fences: An Anthology of Immigrant & First-Generation American Poetry, Divine Feminist: An Anthology of Poetry & Art by Womxn & Non-Binary Folx, and Hecate: Decay. She lives in New Jersey and can be found on Twitter and Instagram as @phigirl.