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Literary Las Vegas: Raegen Pietrucha

Las Vegas poet Raegen Pietrucha’s debut chapbook, “An Animal I Can’t Name,” won the 2015 Two of Cups Press annual chapbook contest, a prize that includes publication. The feminist narrative that details a young woman’s survival of sexual and psychological abuse was selected by the contest’s 2014 winner, Megan Hudgins. Pietrucha is charged with picking the 2016 winner to be announced in August. Pietrucha works at UNLV and received her Master’s in Fine Arts degree at Bowling Green State University, where she worked on the Mid-American Review. Visit raegenmp.wordpress.com.

Excerpt:

Cheer

The only worlds I feel safe speaking I scream

alongside a team, combining them

with sharp chops and kicks, a killer

smile. Eleven girls and I devote

our weekdays to memorizing litanies

of victory, and our boys spring higher

each year as if our words

are manna. Atop the pyramid, held

like a house on a rock, my faith

never wavers; I feel the girls’ mass

will always lift me as it does the team —

soaring, however briefly,

above enemies — undefeated,

untouchable, immaculate. And on the weekend,

when I can get away from him, I run far

past the fence out back, hide my practice —

a zealot casting spells — certain the right

words paired with the right actions will someday

help me become too mighty to be vincible —

recalling perfectly the patterns and tracts —

vital when you’re the only one

who’s ever coming to your defense.

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