Mary Ruefle

The Glacier
Issue One
Fall 2022

The Potato on the Table

There is a potato
on the table.
I stare at it,
then write a novel.
The novel takes place
inside the potato.
The point-of-view
is that of the hard creamy
unseen inside, but I know
what that looks like
so I am able to write.
It is a perfect potato.
A novel potato.
One without eyes.

Clothes of the Dead

Do something vulpine.
Step on a dead branch.
If it snaps, memory’s
found work.
Try putting all of your love
into your little finger,
then move it.
Use your other little finger
to express grief.
If you move both fingers
at once, you will be wearing
the clothes of the dead.
Try being relaxed while
giving an after-dinner speech.
Try being an eidolon
afterwards, when you’re alone.

The Coup

Tuesday.  Midnight.
But so much has already been written
on this subject. . .
I might as well base my mood on
Finnish folk songs. . .
the moon looks like thick grayish paper
booksellers used when sending parcels
through the post in former Finnish days. . .
beautiful dreamer, moonlight and books
are waiting for thee,
and dulcet days in Finland
when after the coup
all the world will be one religion
and all living things cease to die.
Now you know how it is
with me, on Tuesday, at midnight.

Neck of the Woods

A handsome
beautiful tree
perhaps, but he
has the advantage
of living in Boston,
making the others
appear provincial.
They don’t stand
a chance, living
like that in dirt,
when they die
they just fall in
among the rubbish
of their own kin.
Sometimes you see
their bodies floating
in the river.
Trees in Boston have
their picture taken
and when they die
the newspaper expresses
how sad the city is.
It’s a shame,
while to be outside
the great gate
is shameful.

MARY RUEFLE‘s latest book is Dunce (Wave Books, 2019). She lives in Vermont.


Artwork by David Dodd Lee.
© The Glacier 2022. All rights reserved.