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Two Poems by Ron Riekki

Photo: path or narrow road through a forest of birch trees, opening to a bright clearing in the distance, greens, yellows, and the white and black of the birch trunks, image by Mirosław and Joanna Bucholc, on Pixabay.

forest path, image by Mirosław and Joanna Bucholc, on Pixabay

November 8, 2023

Insomnia. Tinnitus. I look it up. There’s no cure.

I get up, start to cook, 4 a.m., can’t afford heat, so

cold that I see my breath, but the stovetop starts to

warm me. Oatmeal. I keep the lights off, the pure

darkness, soft. I sit on the couch and the night also

sits with me. And God. God too. The temperature

fades from my thoughts. Two thousand years ago—

I think of two thousand years ago and how I’m sure

there were people who met Jesus and still said no,

his body right there, to be touched. What did I do

with this life I’m given? Did I devote it to pleasure?

To distraction? Selfishness? Was I somebody who

missed what was right there in front of me too?

Will I allow faith to heat my insides like a volcano,

and to move me almost to the point of seizure?

I put on a record: sounds of Maria Callas’ soprano

voice. I sip water with ice, and pray for my future.


When I was twelve, I’d walk home from school

when everyone else where I lived

would take the bus. But I loved

the walk. It turned from city

to village to township to pretty

much just woods, no houses,

nothing but trees and the birds

would come out, everywhere,

the animals too, that stayed away

from the city. They’d come out

and say hello to me. It felt like

that. Deer would come so near

to me. Like they had no fear.

Like they knew I was kind,

or trying to be kind. And I

remember the sky, how it, too,

seemed to come nearer to me,

like it was saying hello, like

it was telling me that it saw

how I was trying to be kind,

and the clouds would touch me,

and I would feel so, so safe.


Ron Riekki’s books include Blood/Not Blood Then the Gates (Middle West Press),

My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Loyola

University Maryland’s Apprentice House Press), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle),

and U.P. (Ghost Road Press). Right now, Riekki’s listening to Joy Wants Eternity's

"From Embrace to Embrace."

(December 2023 issue)

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Dec 18, 2023

Two great poems, and I especially like "When I was twelve..." and nominated it for a Pushcart Prize.

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