The Wife of Mission Rock Poem by Mary Ruefle

The Wife of Mission Rock

Rating: 5.0


Nothing curves at sea,
and the men there die abruptly,
in imitation of the fact, except
when the ship rises higher than necessary
and then they must drop suddenly
but for a long time,
so that their deaths appear natural
in the end, and the women sweeping the coutyards
pause, thinking the dust
to be the cause of a specific dryness
in the mouth. They leave half of a
pastry to harden on a plate.
They leave all of the lemons and figs
in bowls. They leave fuschia
splattered on the stone steps leading
down to the bay. They carry their brooms
with them, keep sweeping the air,
cleaning it back to the sea.
They sweep the sand from the shore,
feet standing in neat little rows of foam.
Each at the edge of something when
the foghorns remind them:
they will not clearly remember it,
they will not altogether forget it.
They will wait for something to emerge,
like a man at sea carving his children
from soap. One woman will start the rumor
that the sea is deeper than necessary:
Tell her, when has anyone ever come back
for one day's effort on earth?

Thursday, September 3, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: wife
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Mike Rogers 05 February 2020

Typos again: it's got to be courtyards, not coutyards, and it's definitely fuchsia, not fuschia, even if that's the one that makes the sound.

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Mary Ruefle

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
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