Back to Issue Twenty-Eight.

Ruth \’rüth\(n.)

Finalist for the 2019 Gregory Djanikian Scholars Program

Meaning friendship. Meaning flight
of rare birds. Meaning a woman
who doesn’t belong here.
Meaning I wanted
to know, when Naomi, meaning my mother
and friend said, go to the threshing floor.
When he sleeps, uncover a place at his feet
and lay there, make yourself known
meaning, attempt at seduction
what else do you have, did she mean
to define or defend me?



Ruth Remembers Imagining the Field Before Leaving Moab

Finalist for the 2019 Gregory Djanikian Scholars Program

after Traci Brimhall

I listened. I listened and hated
            the thought of the women who left before me,

their dark bodies advancing through you
            like shadows, their voices

thin summer rain. All I’d known was my body
            had always wanted another

but I dreamed of them lain alone in the clearing
            belonging to no one. I dreamed of them closing

their eyes, of how they’d stir strange heat on the ground
            not to remember the place they’d come from

as much as to write new desire
            in dirt. I wanted to know what they named the season

for being nameless. I imagined their soles growing thick
            until splitting open, green insects

laying amethyst eggs in the sores. I imagined not knowing
            what winged thing breeds in the flesh

or how by the end of the season, something turns
            into sawfly or moth. It was spring and I washed alone.

Watched cane toads at night eat their own
            so by summer I’d wake up forgetting

the songs of the tribe, the stakes
            that hold up the temple. I wanted to be free

of the seasons, of living thankful, a freedom
            even from God. I want to trust the old world

will reassemble without me. To trust myself to return
            as I’d come here: unbridled and still good.

Avia Tadmor was born in Israel. She holds a BA from Harvard University and an MFA from Columbia University, where she now works as a lecturer in the Undergraduate Writing Program. Her work appears in The Adroit Journal, New England Review, Crab Orchard Review, Apogee, Nashville Review, and elsewhere. Avia is the recipient of a 2018 Vermont Studio Center Fellowship. She was named a finalist for the 2016 Indiana Review Poetry Prize and a semi-finalist for the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize.


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