Ruth Foley, “Self Portrait as Bottle and Snow Globe”

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Self Portrait as Bottle and Snow Globe

Someone built a boat in me, or outside
then unfurled within. Masts and rigging rose,
a grate, a background of painted sea.
Press your ear to me and hear the roll,
the shanty of the woman who paces
the shore, knows the sea and what it takes.
Meanwhile I look for sails to hoist, a chart,
an aperture to use for navigation.
I hold the moon low again tonight,
unvarying cork on my horizon.

He filled me with water and plastic snow,
took me and shook. Inside me is a bridge
divided from the shores. If it follows
from nothing, leads nowhere, at least no one
can leap or drown but me. He used to like
to set me over, tip me back. Snow swept
and raged across my towers and suspensions
until he grew bored, denied me even
tumult. I occupy myself with gasping.
Inside me, every forecast calls for storms.


Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears in numerous web and print journals, including Adroit, Sou’wester, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. She is the author of the chapbooks Dear Turquoise and Creature Feature, and the full-length collection Dead Man’s Float (forthcoming from ELJ). She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review.

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