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Two Poems

by Ignatius Valentine Aloysius

In Caging Time

A walk to the laundromat, to
        the mom-and-pop-everything 
        store, the sweet-savory bakery
        and 7-Eleven’s potato chip aisle,
        its Lotto stand and the chasing
        glossy rack.

That’s how life begins for the
        newcomer searching for sure
        passage and identity among 
        giants, among working hands
        daily-forged behind the dream
        in some eventual great debt 
        to the city. 

I did not possess a heart strong
        enough or fingers sew-nimble
        enough to weave life through
        dream cages with my too-frugal 
        means, though I learned how
        to park small with no scarcity
        of wonder.

Elegy to Self

dear self,
so sorry to see you go 
as sheep and scrabbled swine 
during the in-between hours
of thursday’s and friday’s fine 
cackling and crowing about, 
after the too-long work drip
stamina slough and grind. 

you know how you’ve 
been, good-looking oyster rout
and warm meal for a raging
muck-it-all festival and sneak
peek. death comes on the 
breeze or it may swoop down
in a tempest freeze to cut you
off at the knees. and then 
what? then what, guy?

you will be a jack of
all trades plus one, and still
a master of none. ahem, i’ll 
take a rueben sandwich, please,
but hold the bread and cheese.
so sorry to see you suffer like
that. yea, sorry to see you go

to your dancing classes
revolutionized by your ante-
cedents, and there is a name 
for all of it, there is a name 
that should have come as no
surprise to you at all, and it’s
the demagoguery of your 
wrongs, which you hold in
a laundry bag at your side,
while you wait for the train
to come whisk you off from 
this bastard station.

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius

About Ignatius Valentine Aloysius

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius (he/him) is a naturalized U.S. citizen, born in India and raised in Mumbai by a Tamilian father and Anglo Indian mother. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, where he won the distinguished thesis award for fiction. He teaches as an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and in the Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Ignatius is the author of the literary novel FishheadRepublic of Want (Tortoise Books, Chicago), and his writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in Third Coast Review, TriQuarterly, The Rumpus, Newcity, The Extraordinary Project, Tofu Ink Arts Press, Cold Mountain Review, among others. He was a 2020-21 Creative Writing Fellow for the Ludington Writers Board and the Ludington Area Center for the Arts in Michigan (Covid impacted). Ignatius is co-curator of the popular reading series, Sunday Salon Chicago. He also sits on the curatorial and diversity boards at Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.