ann cefola

Ann Cefola is author of Free Ferry (Upper Hand Press, 2017), and Face Painting in the Dark (Dos Madres Press, 2014); translator of Alparegho, like nothing else (The Operating System, 2019), The Hero (Chax Press, 2018), andHence this cradle (Seismicity Editions, 2007); and recipient of the Robert Penn Warren Award judged by John Ashbery. A Witter Bynner Poetry Translation Residency recipient, she also received the Robert Penn Warren Award judged by John Ashbery. For more information, see and




Originally published in Wicked Alice, April 2014
Republished with permission of author


When Barbie had her hysterectomy, Ken had no idea what it was.

Unaware she’d been bleeding for years. Her Anne-Francis face

wide open on the OR table.  Drill the doctor had to use

to cut through polyvinyl chloride.


Oh cousin Francie had phoned and Skipper extended the stiff hand

of sisterly support but Barbie wondered, Who am I without my secret organ?

Her black-lined blue eyes brimmed. Would there be

crying jags, loss as bright as her pink nails?


Afterwards—her sports car, portable house—the same.

The fleur-de-lis that formed her inmost self

no one would notice missing

in her old pose on the shelf.