At Eighty-three She Lives Alone

By Ruth Stone 1915–2011 Ruth Stone
Enclosure, steam-heated; a trial casket.
You are here; your name on a postal box;
entrance into another place like vapor.
No one knows you. No one speaks to you.
All of their cocks stare down their pant legs
at the ground. Their cunts are blind. They
barely let you through the check-out line.
Have a nice day. Plastic or paper?

Are you origami? A paper folded swan,
like the ones you made when you were ten?
When you saw the constellations, lying
on your back in the wet grass,
the soapy pear blossoms drifting
and wasting, and those stars, the burned out ones
whose light was still coming in waves;
your body was too slight.
How could it hold such mass?
Still on your lips the taste of something.

All night you waited for morning, all morning
for afternoon, all afternoon for night;
and still the longing sings.
Oh, paper bird with folded wings.

Ruth Stone, “At Eighty-three She Lives Alone” from In the Next Galaxy (Copper Canyon Press, 2002). www.coppercanyonpress.org

Source: In the Next Galaxy (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)

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Poet Ruth Stone 1915–2011

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Arts & Sciences

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 Living, Growing Old, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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