Driftwood

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When I close my eyes, I am again against the brick
in the plaza on the hill, on the stone-cut stairs
leading down to the city.

Missiles smearing above me—
fish scales, platelets of light.

My children are asleep down the hall, I know.
But if the train heaves just right, it’s fire.
Maybe today I see Tripoli’s half-built fairgrounds
in the rows of empty bleachers.

Then will the sky peel back its steel wings?

How do I tell you about the man
who leaned over a balcony rail and was gone.
It sounds like bees my small mind pieced together
when his boot in the courtyard bloated with his foot.

If the power’s down, I’m there in the snuffed-out dark
after all this running. Let it be my daughter’s steps
heavy on the floorboard even if I don’t deserve it.
Even if I’d stolen enough by living that day.

 

Photo: Abstract Art in Weathered Wood by Christine Majul

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About Author

Ruth Awad has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Republic, The Missouri Review Poem of the Week, Crab Orchard Review, CALYX, Diode, Southern Indiana Review, Rattle, The Adroit Journal, Vinyl Poetry, Epiphany, The Drunken Boat, and in the anthologies The Hundred Years' War: Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), New Poetry from the Midwest 2014 (New American Press, 2015), and Poets on Growth (Math Paper Press, 2015). She won the 2013 and 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest, and she was a finalist for the 2013 Ruth Lily Fellowship. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and two Pomeranians.

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