I want you to imagine a box.
Inside the box, the shadow of the hospital
where you were sloughed from your mother
like a grape. And before that,
before skin and seed—
the shadow of your father’s first kiss,
of mornings he woke
feeling like a tooth in the devil’s mouth.
He strolls through your face
like a park he has known since he was old enough
to forget the difference between praying
and thinking about space.
Think about space. Imagine the shadow
of the planet whose atmosphere
is the color of what you hate most
about yourself, whose rings are the hips
of the woman you picture when you are asked
to picture death. What does she keep
in her pocket? What is the taste
of your name in her mouth?
Originally from Kishinev, Moldova, Ruth Madievsky lives and writes in Los Angeles. Her poetry chapbook, Box of Shadows, was the runner-up in the 2014 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ZYZZYVA, Harpur Palate, RHINO, and elsewhere.