By Mary Ruefle b. 1952 Mary Ruefle
God put his finger on my sacrum
and he lifted me, he set me
in the center of the universe,
the curious desire
of my chronically lonely life.

It was cold and dark and lonely
and I was scared.

There were no accessories.
I burst into tears over nothing.

What would Jimmy Schuyler do?

And as quietly as the sound of Kleenex
being pulled from a box,
I sneezed.

And morning, that goddess,
as if she were slightly deaf,
barely lifted her head off the horizon
before laying back down.

And a rose opened her portals
and the scent ran up an elephant’s trunk,
or tried to.

Such a long way for everything to travel!

From here I look like a front moving in

An icy purple light
a poet would say belonged to a perfume stopper
belonging to his mother.
When it was her nipple.

You know, neither in the past
or in the future.

Source: Poetry (September 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

September 2011
 Mary  Ruefle


Though poet and essayist Mary Ruefle was born outside Pittsburgh, she spent her youth moving around the United States and Europe with her military family.

She has written numerous books of poetry, including Indeed I Was Pleased with the World (2007) and The Adamant (1989), which won the Iowa Poetry Prize. A Little White Shadow (2006), her book of erasures—found texts in which all but a few words have been erased from the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys, Religion, The Spiritual, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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