Poem of the Week | November 13, 2012

This week we’ve dug up a haunting lyric by acclaimed American poet, essayist and professor, Mary Ruefle. This poem dates back to 1982, the “blackberry” issue 5.3. Ruefle has won many major awards and fellowships. Her most recent poetry collection is Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010). She also has a collection of prose, The Most Of It, and a new collection of lectures, Madness, Rack, and Honey (Wave Books, 2012).

True to Life Also


It’s as though today
were found at the bottom of Escambia Bay
and an hour floated up in italics:
you can tell by the faces of those you love
tiny linguistic features
are beginning to appear on your own.
Yes, it’s hot, almost evening,
and the children go screaming
over short green grass
their heads fall apart
like great white peonies
in a way we are deciphering
as it unloosens itself.


And I have lain and almost
waited, wished for a flood:
the first star rising as a little bug
on the whiskey glass
while a wasp’s nest rots in tomato light
with its seeds in a casket of gel.
The rasp of insects coming on
and going off like an oven
in which things grow tender.
Like an oven in which
I have lain, almost waited,
wished for a flood, while
the light filtered up from the sea
like filings to a magnet,
until salt-grains dried
on the neck’s edge.