1941

By Ruth Stone 1915–2011 Ruth Stone
I wore a large brim hat
like the women in the ads.
How thin I was: such skin.
Yes. It was Indianapolis;
a taste of sin.

You had a natural Afro;
no money for a haircut.
We were in the seedy part;
the buildings all run-down;
the record shop, the jazz
impeccable. We moved like
the blind, relying on our touch.
At the corner coffee shop,
after an hour’s play, with our
serious game on paper,
the waitress asked us
to move on. It wasn’t much.

Oh mortal love, your bones
were beautiful. I traced them
with my fingers. Now the light
grows less. You were so angular.
The air darkens with steel
and smoke. The cracked world
about to disintegrate,
in the arms of my total happiness.

Ruth Stone, “1941” from Ordinary Words. Copyright © 1999 by Ruth Stone. Reprinted with the permission of Paris Press, Inc.

Source: Ordinary Words (1999)

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Poet Ruth Stone 1915–2011

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Cities & Urban Life, History & Politics, Relationships, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Ruth  Stone

Biography

Poet Ruth Stone was born in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1915 and attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lived in a rural farmhouse in Vermont for much of her life and received widespread recognition relatively late with the publication of Ordinary Words (1999). The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was soon followed by other award-winning collections, including In the Next Galaxy (2002), winner . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Cities & Urban Life, History & Politics, Relationships, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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