Amy Leigh Cutler

Amy Leigh Cutler is the author of "Orange Juice and Rooftops" and a few chapbooks. Some of her recent collaborations can be found in Jonathan Weiskopf's "For Some Time Now" and Wooster Collective's "Graphite", and in a forthcoming anthology by Great Weather for Media.  She is the founder of Timshel Artists' [Collective] and an MFA candidate in poetry at The New School. She lives without irony in Alphabet City. 

Love Song

Three birds are still
At the foot of the trail,


So close to the nest.
Everything alive
Is with heat.


Makes me


But it must be self inflicted.




Little boy, little boy in the rocks,
Teach me how to make fire.


I will feed it as child.
Bind up bones and set


The quiet birds
Near flame.


Feel the heat?
I made that heat.


Crack crack crack
And the rock
And the heads.


Three little heads.


We leaves
Increase the cold.
The poor grow fat.


Each morning dew,
And in the night, fire.


Sleep comes.
Bird by bird,
Hunger is a well spring
Self inflicted.


At the foot of the path,
A river. The fish are food.


On fire,
The fish are food,
Are silver.

As Usual

As Usual


I drain the tofu first,

holding the heavy

white sponge


in my palm. Sear it

til the white browns. Moving that

to a bowl, I hear the bell. Someone


is at the door. I wipe my hands,

buzz him in after throwing the

chopped onions, mushrooms, peppers into

the still hot

wok. When the tender flesh


begins to brown, and

he turns music on

in the living room, I open

a can of coconut milk;


pour it over the sizzling vegetables,

swirl it around

with a wooden spoon. He pulls

a book from his bag and

begins reading from


“The Paris Review”. Half

listening, I chop ginger root,

sprinkle turmeric, curry, cayenne


“Here’s a new one by Sharon Olds,”

he says, while I rinse cilantro.

“The Haircut,” he begins.


I open

the fridge,


for the lemons.




Orion’s Belt, My Hips


It is the first day of 2012.
What are you afraid of?
Last night I cried
and said out loud

I didn’t expect I’d still be waiting tables
at the same restaurant I was at 6 years ago.

What changes in the heart?
Where is solitude?
Who makes the body pure?
What soulish fiend am I?

Always hungry for the escape,
the deeper inside to get away from
reality.  Who said reality was where anything
mattered anyway? I swallow beauty,

rail against the beast of skin
when too much of everything
growls back at me.

What year is this?
What woman am I?
Who nailed the spikes into my heels?
Who told me heels made a woman?

East Village you dirty, loud, unruly heart.
East Village blood and chambered fruit.
East Village pump my heart chokes

on seeds of every pomegranate
reminder of love.
Love and marriage.
You can’t have one without the other.
I want.

What is Purity?
Whose hands fashioned the hips, the back?
Who curled the rib cage around a fluttering bird?
I heart.

I wail for a living’s sake.

I drink my tea with sugar.

No coffee.
Sugar cubes no milk.
Soy milk.
What kind of half alive is this?

What kind of cancer comes from smoke?
Stacks back against family?

When does it come together?
The dots unconnect themselves,
sprawl across the sky as stars.

Legs like God.
Whose footstool
am I?


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