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Oriana Ivy
September 2022

Oriana Ivy was born in Poland. She came to the United States when she was 17.  Her poems, essays, book reviews, and translations have been published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry, Nimrod, Spoon River Review, The Iowa Review, Black Warrior Review, Los Angeles Review of Books and many others. She’s the prize winning author of the chapbooks April Snow (Finishing Line Press), From a New World (Paper Nautilus), and How to Jump from a Moving Train  (Cervena Barva). A former journalist and community college instructor, she leads an online Poetry Salon. Her poetry-and-culture blog,, has gained an international audience. She lives in Southern California.



No moon. The pines like black wind

brushed the tips of stars.

Horses stood in their corral,

carved as if outside of time.


You said, “They are sleeping.”

But one horse,

the tallest, suddenly

ran toward us, a rift in the dark.


The other horses never stirred.

They slept, eternal statues. Only he

sensed us and needed to see —

shot through darkness like a marble flame.


We almost stopped breathing, struck

with pure rhythm, muscle and mind —

that shining horse starting up —


then standing still,

the frost of stars

braiding his tall outline —


And we too stood still,

face to face,

in the shivering starlight.



Dear Madam: I received your kind

letter from hell last Tuesday afternoon.

Here too we mostly talk about the weather.

It rains in my dreams. Freud said,

A gentleman would not have

such an unconscious.


As to diet, you either eat

the forbidden fruit,

or you’ll spend eternity

shopping for cabbage and potatoes.

I’m not saying cabbage is wrong –

see my essay on the nature of the soul

(Prelude to a Case of Schizophrenia, Volume II).


The error is to think we have a soul,

as one can have a hat or an umbrella.

The soul has us. We are a door.

We must not take

our lives personally. 


In the underworld, you say,

everyone dresses well.

You sit in a vegetarian café,

waiting for the Orpheus archetype –

this time without the betrayal.


Dear Lost Bride, to sing one must

turn around — away from the hungry

living, and the even more

hungry ghosts. I have to go now —

Emma is calling me to dinner.


Believe me, I understand:

you expected a long, wise letter

from a famous man. Answers

to questions. Why

we live. Why anything

exists. Is there heaven,

since we know there is hell.


You see, Freud was wrong:

the mundane prevails over sex.

Perhaps the meaning of my life

will lie in my off-hand remark,

A penis is only a phallic symbol.

A cup can be broken; a symbol

remains, waiting to be filled.


I see your signature is smudged.

Next time, please wipe your shadow.

Regretfully, Your Jung

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