Daniel Ruefman – Poetry

Biography: Daniel Ruefman is an emerging poet whose work has most recently appeared in The Tonopah Review, Temenos, FLARE: The Flagler Review, DIALOGIST, SLAB, and Burningword. He currently teaches writing at the University of Wisconsin–Stout.


Deflated on its hook,
the pink terrycloth robe
is nowhere near as soft
as the attributes you use
to give it shape.

Tracing the shadow of you
on this battered mattress,
I imagine your warmth
emanating from the indentation
left by your hips.

Last night we spoke of you
scaling Olympus
and I shuddered to think
of your form
returning to its source,

trekking to the Skala summit
the maternal, white radiance descending,
enveloping you in its arms,
carrying you past Skolio
to the throne of Mytikas;

oh consummate child,
heiress of Titans,
kin of the Twelve,
when you cast off
your bitter mythology,

return to my awakened desire;
I shall prepare your chamber,
spread deliberately the ambrosia,
and in the receiving hours, I will fully explore
what it is in you we call human.

Aftermath of the Move

With walls so thin,
our apartment lets the world in;

the maladjusted toddler upstairs
with spasmodic croup
shakes the light with each full-bellied bark;
his midnight screams rip me from sleep,
as his father’s frustrated muttering
reverberates through double-paned windows;

in the morning the woodpecker attacks
the rustic pinewood siding;
my wife takes aim with the pellet gun
and one shot later ends the problem
only to wake the next morning to a replacement
and then to the replacement’s replacement
as though they have home field advantage
and their bench runs deep;

last week the neighbor filled his kiddie pool
and busted our outdoor spigot;
for days, it gushed gallons, turning our meter
until our landlord could be bothered with it, and
even then, it took three visits to stop the hemorrhage;

then there’s the bugs,
the red beetles that gather mainly outside our door;
it’s impossible to enter without a handful rushing
in from the cold—with them the lady bugs swarm in corners,
occasionally dropping to molest my writing lamp;
I ask nicely before swatting and spraying, and still
the freeloaders come to steal our heat,
to run our water, to shake the pictures from our walls;

the sutras say they have a right, and I remind myself
that they have as much claim to their space as I,
but I am a bad Buddhist, and want our space
as livable as it was when we rented it.

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