Ruth Goring



I return to passion fruit, to patios,
bees hovering in geraniums,
muted voices, small girls tossing silky hair
over their shoulders like wind bending grasses.
To clouds, swimming strokes, water
pouring itself, pouring.

I write about death
and pull back: how to approach it
without saying dead, blood, body
or murderous intent, without saying Colombia,
paramilitary or gun. Only the sweat
on people’s lips, the bus’s lumbering trajectory,
the bags of beans and corn, the sleeping child,
the checkpoint, selection of passengers,
chainsaw’s sharp-toothed snarl.

The river passes, keeps passing, folding itself
around this bend, accepts and folds in
two long bags weighted with stones.
They slide to its muddy depths, the river
rises imperceptibly, returns to its pastime
of folding to catch sun fragments by the thousands:
Catch. Mirror. Flash. Fold.

Ruth Goring grew up in Colombia, and many of her recent poems are set amid that country's decades-long civil war. She codirects Across the Americas (, which advocates for peace and just economic relations between North and South. Ruth's collection Yellow Doors was published in 2004 by WordFarm; her work has also appeared or is forthcoming in Conte, The Externalist, Avocet, Dos Passos Review, Raving Dove, Off the Coast, Chicago Quarterly Review, Out of Line, the Goodreads newsletter, and other journals. She lives in Chicago, and her bread-and-butter work is editing books at a university press.

(author retains copyright)