Because It’s October

Ruth Madievsky




and I’m watching ambulance lights bathe a motel

and not thinking about the loose glitter my body is,

because everything inside me isn’t rattling like a change purse,

not splitting into smaller versions of itself, small enough

to be threaded through the eye of a needle,

I think my brain is done swallowing itself

the way the ocean swallows itself, I think I’m done

being car parts in a shed,

because I’m watching a bee fuck a rosebush

and not seeing switchblades, not counting

the number of times I’ve worn anxiety like a nosebleed

or thought my fingers didn’t belong to me, and because I’m wearing new shoes

and have painted my toenails the red of balloons, not blood transfusions,

I’m looking at a poplar tree and understanding why owls

might couple there, I’m feeling like a real person

with real skin, real hair, a real heart that isn’t packed in a cooler,

real lungs tied together, not hostages

but two people in a bathtub,

and the spider above my head tunes its web like an electric guitar,

reeling in the fly that expected today to go very differently,

and I’m not seeing that as a metaphor for my love life,

not feeling like plaque in an artery,

a ransacked castle with its drawbridge up,

I’m not losing my name in someone else’s cigarette

or looking into eyes and seeing zeroes,

so I think I’m ready to spit out the needle-nose pliers

in my mouth, I think I’m done being a dimmer switch,

because it’s October, and I’m touching your face,

which feels like a face.


Ruth Madievsky‘s first poetry collection, “Emergency Brake,” was named Tavern Books’ 2015-2016 Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry Series selection and is forthcoming in January 2016. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. She was a 2015 Tin House Scholar in Poetry. She is originally from Moldova and lives in Los Angeles, where she is a doctoral student at USC’s School of Pharmacy.