Kettle Steam Promise (& other poems)

by Victoria Ruiz

Tennessee, 1918
two trains collide head-on
in The Great Trainwreck.

How to account for the hurry,
visibility- fathers boarding for work
metal  clam-latched lunch boxes just filled-
mothers at home, making chamomile tea as the kettle blows.

Goodbyes last as long as they are remembered.

Wreck into me like that-
hungry and packed.
Miss the warnings tracked
in protocol.

Take me off radar with the thrust
only an engine could give.

We are either moving toward or away
from our next destination in fury or
reticent sorrow.

Be the fever that splurges nearly too late.
Be the platform runner catching the express-
in opposite direction.

Somewhere, a conductor pulls the horn
in kettle steam promise that we will
arrive just in time.


Suburban Aisles

This is suburbia.
White and divided
aggregate salt brined winter
roads bowed in neighborhood
plots engineered
to spill rain into gutter.

The place window boxes adorn closed
homes and driveways tilt
and hedges grow
and lawns are mowed
and we seed the grass
and we water
the grass
and the mail comes predictable

by noon.

It is Saturday, we are searching
for screws through bins and boxes
of interior and exterior

I break to where the flowers live in recycled
trays- olfactory paths swept
in scent and growth.
We pay dearly to be reminded
of love in this way.

We make due with longevity
and promise in separate aisles
as we search and we screw
in a garden made from the love
that we’ve found along the salted
and divided highways home.


Takotsubo Heart

There are so many drab houses on my block-
tentacle vines and road cracks.
I am out of love poems. Today,

the sky is purging its line first with rain secondly,
snow. Spring is 118 days away. I am

remembering the time you held my hand, traced my thumb.
First date- blindness is a skill tracing damp in the bones.

How to let the sun blind you opposable and fertile.

I am octopus and takotsubo heart-
inkblot gone mad.