Two weeks before my wedding
I went to call on my mother,
an ant tethered to a stick; safe––
gleeful in the monsoon.

She is a passenger reversing.
The architecture of motion is lifted––

In institution

I brought her three floral dresses
to try on and she is a brilliant jewel

surfacing as a gift to me.

She is a blink       and in it
is her body:
cobalt and chrome.

In it is an asking not to be forgotten;
the way bodies are if the soul is perpetual.

In it is a wink      as if she is god––

As if to tell me, daughter, look at me in this dress;
see me trying

to give you this decorated language of grief
to shake the secrets of the body.

Let’s forget this life
is a burning rocket let’s remember

we’ve concocted the word direction
and given everything a name already named.

My god, I want to talk to you.
I want to ask you where love lands when everything is disappearing?

You are a wind that strips the house bare
And still the house holds me.

You are an institution bargaining the body
And still we call your name.

Attempt at Adoration

One can hold a crossbow and a pussy
Willow with the same affection.
One can dream her own body in the arms
of the blue Mary
as if Pietà were meant for a certain kind of voyeur
as if love were the curve of a spine
as if my spine were a relic but also

a lick-able thing, a velvet
strange on the tongue.
I will be an unnerving petal
used again and again for my image.


In the year 50,000
the elegance of god will be a sort of extremism
we won’t be able to turn from.

Our limbless selves will be ever-arching toward
creating babies in the absence of a body;
the breath, the same as a new feather dropping
from a nest, the places insects go at night––
a perpetual season.

And those born with retractable peg-legs or other vices
will feel those burning secrets leave
parading an exorcism of inherited cells––
carrying banners that read

                                   the absence of the organism shell


Everyone will whisper poetry–– which is a hum
and feels like weather     which is always marveled at.

No one will need the back of a coat closet
to find a little darkness, or a dream
of their teeth falling out to know fear
is just the wind rattling the house.
And the eye will not need to receive itself

as mine does yours tonight, which is not a banging
on the door
but a begging to be seen from some other place.


Leanne Ruell
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