Published by Poets' Choice Publishing, saying of Elisavietta Ritchie, "who leads the way with courage, dignity, and self assurance, a harbinger of what it means to be a talented human being in a troubling, but luminous world, a model of someone who doesn't give up on any front, burgeoning yet again.
published in Cliff Lynn's
new magazine TEXTure
That summer my first love and I
lived in a cave we dug in an old
pit near Three Rivers, Wisconsin.
Five years old, under a roof of reeds
spread across our stick frame,
we lay close the way parents do,
My love's diabetic brother, seven,
who every day got shots from the nurse,
tunneled his own cave next door.
Beyond our forbidden quarry,
pastures stretched past the creek,
field corn rose higher and higher.
We lost ourselves in forests of stalks,
then reset our compass, plotted a course
back to our cave, ate our apples and bread.
Suddenly the hill avalanched—
We flailed our hands—fingers
entangled in branches and vines—
Sand sifted over us—Sand choked
our throats—My love grew sleepy
beneath our blanket of sand…
His brother managed to crawl
from his own ruined cave.
We heard his stuttered words—
Trying to dig through your roof—
Shaking too hard—His later report:
Walked miles to find a farmer,
he promised a search and rescue,
soon as he milked
his thirty bellowing cows.
Crows threatened to pluck out my eyes.
My ribs hurt and my love grew cool
for so warm a day. Dusk fell over us.
I felt bugs climb our mountain of selves,
heard dogs—or wolves?—howl above us,
the scratch of rat claws on our pails,
then shouts of unfamiliar men but
I remembered: don't talk with strangers,
above all not at night…
At dawn strangers dug us out.
Next day they buried my love again.
His brother and I cried for days and days…
And now I cannot recall their names…
Ann Arbor Review, 2016
Harbingers, Poets Choice Publishing, 2017
Discussing Olympus at the
Camelot Hall Nursing Home
[the residents speak, if they can]
What anachronistic Grecian gods
can help us now? What myths explain away
Promethean livers, wounded heels,
spent bones, one unpaired eye?
Those gods an under-thirty bunch
except Poseidon, that old salt.
Orpheus was too preoccupied
to be debriefed.
Athena has abandoned us.
Aphrodite is a tawdry joke.
Zeus turns to new pursuits.
Persephone still breezes past but
won't share one pomegranate seed.
Demeter's on the shelf.
Only bovine Io understands
indignity of change, incontinence,
this pastured lack of grace.
Icarus, you were in luck.
We'd trade these wheelchairs
for your wings, despite the cost.
dreams of immortality, hallucinations.
We've had experience with risk
and nosedived plans.
We'd like the business done.
[Operative, fall/winter, circa 1980; TEXTure vol. 1; Harbingers: Poets' Choice Publishing, © 2017 Elisavietta Ritchie]