After Gustav Klimt’s The Three Ages of Woman by Ava C. Cipri

After Gustav Klimt’s The Three Ages of Woman, 1905 (Addressing the Middle Woman)     

Illustration by Luna Dala
Illustration by Luna Dala

Isn’t it always like this?
You stand at an intersection, Time’s scale
tipping you through mortality, where age

requires abandoning a home, someone you love,
the day’s fraying scriptures. Your comfort
comes in knowing the count

of years between you and her;
the anguished woman clasping her face
of grief, buried in the unruly silver hair

that spreads like a star on your shoulder;
she’s a willow, down-cast, her sinewy limbs
tremble from their hinges. The mosaic column

behind her is one of suffering with its enamel of red,
black, and setting gold tone—she is awake, aware
of her mortality. She laments for you—smooth-shaped

flushing mother, flowers garnishing
the lustrous gold tresses, consoled by an infant,
the farthest from death. Or is she?

Her eyes closed as death’s blue
gossamer coils around your opalescent bodies,
set against the cool purple and blue

ornamented looped and triangle chips.
The advancing black horizon
that opens like a gaping mouth
waiting to receive tongue, spirit, host.

About the Author

Ava C. Cipri

“I’m addressing the woman in the middle (her, myself, all of us); three symbolizes their collective cyclical stages, which serves as a reminder even in the face of an advancing void.”

Ava C. Cipri is a poetry editor for The Deaf Poets Society: An Online Journal of Disability Literature & Art. She holds an MFA from Syracuse University and currently teaches writing at Duquesne University. Ava’s poetry and nonfiction appears or is forthcoming in Cimarron, decomP magazinE, Drunken Boat, The Fem, Rust + Moth, and Uppagus, among others. She resides at

About the Illustrator


Lunadala is a digital artist who’s slightly obsessed with space, plants, and Studio Ghibli. She draws feminine illustrations and her color palette mostly consists of pastel colors. She loves French culture, especially their style and architecture, which usually inspires most of her artwork. You can follow her on Instagram and Tumblr.

After Gustav Klimt’s The Three Ages of Woman, 1905 (Addressing the Middle Woman) is one of the many amazing submissions we have received for the third edition of the literary collection The Machinery.

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One thought on “After Gustav Klimt’s The Three Ages of Woman by Ava C. Cipri

  1. Love Ava cipri work. I’ve read her poems elsewhere and I’ve always been struck but their range of emotion and Technical prowess. Always look forward to reading her work and glad see her work in your fine magazine.

    Liked by 2 people

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