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Two Poems by Ruth Awad

“Poem of Beginnings” and “The Sarah Poems”

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday, poetry
November 15, 2022

Poem of Beginnings

The green earth yawned. The babies cried in gluey cocoons, aware at once of the difficulty of having a body that rides through space on a warm rock. A rock! It was downhill from there. Everything was hard and we all lost our minds. We bottled water, for fuck’s sake. Flung the barn doors and burnt the hay. You know someone is telling the truth when they’re on fire. I thumb the hot stove moments too long. Because I am an untold number of electrical currents away from being dog food. The graffiti sprawling the overpass says CRUELTY IS THE POINT. The babies agree. I am sick of towing my body around, showing it the strange world like a newborn. All this wonder and nowhere to rest. HAVE YOU SEEN MY HEART? the lost dog flyer taped to the streetlamp asks. Oh, Heart, you’re needed back home. Boughs and blossoms trailing you like a wedding. The moon and you have some explaining to do.

The Sarah Poems

We give each other a year to find
reasons to live, but it’s not even day
one and I have a handful, more than
enough for the both of us: last night
the train heavy on its tracks yowled
in such a discordant way you would’ve
laughed your ass off, this marvel of man-
made machinery, its tons of machismo,
honking most undignified. Who will notice
if we’re gone? How about this: my money
plant actually withers when my bank
account nears $0. Coincidence? I think
not. What about all the dogs we could
rescue and the ones we can’t if we’re
not here? Think of the sweet mutts
who took a shovel to the head and still
survived. Who will love them like you
will love them? And you haven’t
seen the curiosity of hens, how they
bawk and preen and peck and bully,
the small miracle that is an egg every
morning, still warm. Today the nesting
box latch broke and the hens got loose.
There’s nothing like the bliss of a silly bird
who thinks she’s outfoxed her keeper,
puffed there on the maple stump, grooming
her wings, her triumphant saddles. The birds
escape more than I care to admit,
and one day I’m sure I’ll find them gone,
like when Dorothea flew over my head
and out into the street and I ran like
I hadn’t since middle school gym class,
my lungs barely burning for the adrenaline,
me yelling after this chicken in front
of God and my neighbors in a city
that hasn’t even roused yet, me versus
the hen who can’t be reasoned with:
But the stray cats will eat you! The hawks
will too! You’re everyone’s food!
maybe we should be like the hen who
thought I might eat her but was tired
from the chase and scared of what’s
next, who chose instead to trust
the arms around her would carry
her back home, who laid her head
on my wrist, whose heartbeat begged
my hand for mercy. Have mercy on me,
I don’t want to live in a world without you.