‘Girl, Under Construction’ by Claire Avisar


you would read:

notes of
Malibu, toaster waffles
and rooftops
painted in allspice
late-night Italian
samba and whisky stones
balconies covered in ice
on her birthday cake
the grape shots
they serve at Tokyo
and glasses of Prosecco
that turn into five
an empty chair
at Christmukkah dinner
(insert the faint reminder of a bad decision)
your first
menthol cigarette
what is supposedly your last
menthol cigarette
shards of glass
against fingertips
the happiness that is
standing alone
on St. Laurent street at 1am
with a new copy of George Orwell
in frozen hands
premature loss
and a failed writing career



if all babies are born
of angel whispers
drawn by plump curls
and with plush words
that echo like an ocean breeze
then I must be by a different name

who is it that painted me?
which heavy hand broke
the broad-stroked brush?

perhaps Michaelangelo
had he known that beach
would have mixed me a dark red,
for I was conceived at winter’s edge
when wandering waters
grew heavy for the shore

christened by collision
still I rise
so quietly on Saturdays in June
and still I climb to worship my mother
for housing and weathering the storm

in her stone cold pews
still damp from morning prayer
I sit and ask of the sea
if she knows why tranquility
(my own sister)
has never been a friend to me



There is warmth
in stone and concrete,
the blue
hue of frost-bitten streets.

Less like the cottage
marble countertops,
more like lusty
gravel is to apple cheeks.

If not from  his heart
there is always blood
which flows from the lips
of the alleyway
outside the apartment.

Windows shatter,
white paint chips.


CLAIRE AVISAR is a 4th year undergraduate student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Although she left an academic career in English Literature to study Anthropology and History, she has not yet escaped her passion for the English language, and has continued a penchant for creative writing. Throughout personal struggles with mental health, eating disorders, finding her womanhood, and other quintessentially millennial afflictions, poetry has become the lens through which she is able to process our complex world. Besides a means of personal expression, she is also an adamant advocate for the power of writing, in all its capacities, to empower individuals and communities to create change. Her work has appeared in on campus publications such as the McGill Daily and The Veg, and she is working towards curating a manuscript. She hopes, if nothing more, these poems bring a moment of peace or connection to those who read them.

Copyright © 2018 by Claire Avisar. All rights reserved.