Max Ritvo: Two Poems


Plush Bunny

My poor little future,
you could practically fit in a shoe-box
like the one I kept peshul bunny in
when I decided I was too old to sleep with her.
I’d put a lid on the box every night.
I knew she couldn’t breathe—she was stuffed,
but I thought she’d like the dark, the quiet.
She had eyes, I could see them.
They were two stitches. My future has eyes,
for a while. Then my future has stitches,
like peshul’s. Then cool cotton, like her guts.
Of course there is another world. But it is not elsewhere.
The eye traps it so where heaven should be,
you see shadows. You start to reek.
That’s you moving on.

For Crow

We tended to a crow,
and now it’s fine.
It shakes its head, and eats crickets,
forgetful bird
which you put in a pouch to make sleep.

They said his eyes were blue because he was young.
Black blurs the eyes of crows as they grow old—
all motion
disruption in a lake of light.

I am a crow, and
I think you are mostly a pattern of motion,
and I am a leaf—and your hands fan under
and over me, and create a little space
in which the thing in my life that adds up
is my motion.

I think you can be traced
most easily by the echoes of your kinetics, my love.
Your lips, neck, arms,
these are not a harbor;
the you-around-you is the harbor.

In our bed, in the dark,
it is not sound, it is not outline,
but the motion of you
that brings to the surface of my body
all of the apparentness
of a settling glass of muddy water.
How I feel is then forgotten,
and instead I find myself
moving, joy, moving!

Max Ritvo (1990-2016) is the author of Four Reincarnations, forthcoming from Milkweed Editions, and the chapbook AEONS (Poetry Society of America).