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Saturday Poetry – ‘Grow’ by Ruth Ellen Kocher

Saturday Poetry – ‘Grow’ by Ruth Ellen Kocher

This week’s Saturday Poetry brings you the soul-stirring poem titled ‘Grow’ by Ruth Ellen Kocher. She is the author of several poetry collections, including godhouse (Omnidawn Press, 2023); Third Voice (Tupelo Press, 2016); domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press, 2013), winner of the PEN Open Book Award and the Dorset Prize; and Desdemona’s Fire (Lotus Press, 1999), winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Award for African American Poets. Describing this poem, she said “at the end of 2020, I conquered some big life goals and looked forward to my future. But 2021 brought the end of a cherished friendship, then my marriage. In November, I found myself in an ambulance on my way to life-saving surgery for a cervical spinal abscess. I paced my house for two months with an IV bag, feeling hollow. When the onion began to sprout, I measured its progress each day. I couldn’t bring myself to use it. The onion gave me something to look forward to—a small triumph growing on the counter. I wanted to feel triumph again.”

For this edition of Saturday Poetry, we have paired Ruth Ellen Kocher’s emotive words with mobile art by the talented @laurence__bouchard with the captivating artwork complementing the poem’s essence beautifully, creating a symphony of emotions.

To view the others we have published in this section, go here.

via Poets.org

Saturday Poetry – ‘Grow’ by Ruth Ellen Kocher

I have a red onion in a green bowl on my kitchen counter
sprouting a green stalk that began as a little green haystack

bump, a knobby cyst, really, that broke surface, felt like what
I imagine I’m feeling for when I rub my breasts in the shower,

my eyes closed as if water is a blindfold allowing me to feel
within that dark any small homicide growing within me. I can’t

bring myself to use the onion, to gnash its skin, to whack off
its hard-on-gooseneck like I’m suddenly death’s

scythe, death’s brindled pet, death’s dappled good-girl. Maybe,
the onion believes in something, imagines itself still wild,

or holds in its layers the delusion of lilacs or iris or
goldenrod or blueberry or some other rambling growth

redacting my sense of abandon, here, in this too-large house,
a-lone-ly, not like a battle with silence way-of-alone-ness but

a passage. Quiet. Sometimes bright, sometimes dim, so, foreign. 
I am a theft waiting to happen, a rotten spell visioning

the onion’s end. Salt. Oil. Softly seared particulate
endings. Oh, onion, circular cycle, joy-halo. Grow.



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