Ruth Z. Deming, winner of a Leeway Grant for Women Artists, has had her work published in lit mags including Hektoen International, Creative Nonfiction, Haggard and Halloo, and Literary Yard. A psychotherapist and mental health advocate, she runs New Directions Support Group for people with depression, bipolar disorder, and their loved ones. Viewwww.newdirectionssupport.org. She runs a weekly writers' group in the comfy home of one of our talented writers. She lives in Willow Grove, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her blog is www.ruthzdeming.blogspot.com.
Adam, oh, we all like Adam
sits a’chair staring at computer screen
waiting to be interrupted
straightbacked and stiff,
as if there’s back trouble,
it’s only from being in the orchestra pit
of the librarian’s chair.
“Whazzup?” he asks, a quick
smile lighting up his cheeks
like an apple best eaten slowly.
MAN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
A far-off lens portrays a man
running down the stairs, outdoor
stairs in southern California, arms
swinging at his sides, as if he has
practiced for years, each leg bending
at the knee and thigh and ankle,
going faster, faster, faster, and
I shout Instant Replay but the
screen has turned black.
THE CREPE MYRTLE IS LATE FOR THE BALL
A southern belle, forced by her owner
to bloom up here, she caught a cold,
and stood lifeless in the front yard.
She twisted her infected branches and
looked up at the sky. Are ya done with
me? she asked. I've lived here five years
dancing in place to the Nutcracker Suite.
Cold showers from the hose bathed her
withered limbs, like Whitman did
the dying. More cold showers up
and down her once famously beautiful
body, the ballerina.
She was tough, she was resilient, she
refused to die. Her beauty's returned
the Belle of Cowbell Road.
THE MAN AT THE STARBUCKS
How can anyone stand so straight?
How can anyone have hair like that?
White, all white, with a tiny ponytail
peacock-proud to ornament
the man in line.
Tall, he bent toward the aproned
barista. I’ll have Decaf, he
said. Here was a man who would
sleep well at night.
I’ll make a fresh cup, said she.
And I heard all, my head turning
as I waited for my pumpkin spice
latte, which I could barely pronounce.
Later, at table, I sat at a distance
my curiosity aroused like a calico
cat sniffing round the cake plate
Whatever was he reading, as his
white head dipped deep into the
paperback book. A man who
would rouse the stars to dream about.
WAITING IN LINE
The line wasn’t long.
I forgot that I don’t have
to be busy every minute
so I stopped reading
the book I would buy.
Real life is more important
than any history book you’ll
buy for your son’s fortieth.
A woman with gleaming white
hair, the color of the noonday
sun, was leaning over, laughing.
Good thing I have insomnia,
she said. There’s a million
cable channels and nothing is….
Yeah yeah. As I read in bed
last night, All the Light You Cannot
See, the Gloaming White was
somewhere in the area, reading
herself to sleep, as Dr Amen, Patrick
Stoner, and Patti Paige sang to me
in the distance.
Spider skittered around the
slippery porcelain sink with
its bits of spinach and peanuts
the journey of his life, trying
to get free before more cold
water came pouring down
A shroud covered his head,
with quivering posterior
he injected his venom to
no avail, and was thrown
down a high place, tumbling
tumbling, eight legs
a-tremble, no web to
carry him down.
She and he were seen from
the window swimming. The still
moon lit up each naked body.
Look at that slim white arm
curling from the water, up,
then splash, slender as a
ribbon. He was nearby, the
hair on his arms flattened down
like fleece, bubbles spitting
from his mouth. The watcher
goes back to bed, listening
to their splashes – they sound
like celebratory ducks – as
He and She embrace like
majesties, then head for the
locker room on shore.