you are in the diode archives winter 2011



Death and Petunias

A woman digs a hole for roots flowering purple
This is how Death begins

And of course The love poem which no one reads anymore The kind of poem which says yellow Says pink Says orange Says

I hate you

Hate cannot bare this when The love Poem throws up a sharp hue Hue is a word Death uses when talking about a typical day gathering The helix of purple flowers

In her arms Which are not flowers Are stop signs
open eyed starry Are Neighbors Children just heard not seen

In time In Time

The woman would gather Latin in her arms but
Petunia is always petunia

Death knows this failure that lurks in botany So soothes her Death says darling Death says poem Death says Love We are The same



Once never said
Nor the next stammered

To you   the black bird calls a message across
The pine   To you   the creek is in a rush

Pity first sky spread thin
Pity next the water bottle crushed at the road

Diminish a grip on what
What what

Drink an untapped gulp
Breathe carbon Breathe freeway

Forget within you a knife-rage
Forget a red storm wanting to  


Ruth Ellen Kocher has also been published in Callaloo, the Cartier Review, Blackbird, the Superstition Review, Square One, ditch, the Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Cimarron Review, Ploughshares, African American Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, Washington Square Journal, Crab Orchard Review, and ninth letter, as well as other print journals, and has, as well, been translated into Persian in the Iranian literary magazine She’r. She has poems forthcoming in various anthologies, including the Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. Her first book of poetry, Desdemona’s Fire, won the Naomi Long Madget Award for African American Poets and was published by Lotus Press in 1999. Her second book, When the Moon Knows You’re Wandering, won the Green Rose Prose and was published by Western Michigan and New Issues Poetry and Prose in 2001, who also published her third book, One Girl Babylon, 2003. She has been awarded fellowships from the Cave Canem Workshop, the Bucknell Seminar, and Yaddo. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Colorado-Boulder.