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Ruth Bavetta Poetry


by Ruth Bavetta



I will wake the lilies under
the window. I will bite deeply
into the apple’s defenseless cheek.
And when the man comes in the dark,
I will show him the family
silver’s shining secrets.

I will follow the seagulls over
the waves as they etch the air
with their wings. I will ride
the tide. I will not be safe.
I will not be good. What
kind of love would keep me
withered in the nest?




Curves, but No Edges


When the faint gravity of her puberty pulls
through the family, it clots and breaks.
She curves her mouth into an arc as if tasting
something soft and unexpected,
her tongue sliding forward.

Nothing means what it did before.
Words sling past each other
with centrifugal force. Thoughts
sail like a curve balls,
slamming the windows shut.

She turns away
at the approach of those whose love
has become insufficient. She lives
in her body like music, slightly
out of tune, the melody yet to come.



Elegy for the Three-Cent Stamp


For the postman
with the heavy leather bag,

the house on the hill,
the mailbox hidden in the hedge.

For the new blue Studebaker,
the cheerleader in the knee-length skirt,

the stolen chocolate Cherry-a-let,
the can of Ipana tooth powder.

For the edge of the bed,
the crutch in the garden,

the shiny Schwinn bicycle,
the woman who loved to hike.

For the man in the lab coat,
the swing on the bridge,

the pink-eyed rat,
the three-legged dog.

For the girl with the broken
glasses. Who is she now?






Coyotes in the canyon
yipping like crazy,
Coyotes in the hills, racing
through the brush, coyotes
in the gullies running in a pack.

Neighborhood dogs going nuts.
Dogs behind walls, dogs behind
fences, dogs on decks,
dogs behind glass, barking.

Dogs singing of kibble and Bonz,
of nights spent warm
on the foot of down comforters.

Coyotes crying of hillsides and stones,
the crunch of rabbit bones, wild
nights under the moon.




Before Dementia


The Middle Fork of the Feather River
flows slowly in the summer,
arrives deep and still
at the old swimming hole.
My mother swam there
almost every day. Floated
on her back beneath the trees,
looking up at the sky,
until she fell asleep,
circling slowly
under the pines.




Ruth Bavetta writes at a messy desk overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Review, North American Review and many other journals and anthologies. Her books are Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press, 2013) Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press, 2014,) Flour Water Salt (FutureCycle Press, 2016.) and No Longer at This Address (Aldritch Books.)  She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, and the smell of the ocean; she hates pretense, fundamentalism, and sauerkraut.