Mignon Vanitas (detail) 02 by Abraham Mignon

Sacred Ruins
by Doug Ramspeck

The boys, in a dream, are beating a green snake with a stick, slipping the limp

rope into the river. Then later they watch their sisters kissing boyfriends on the

back porch. This must be crow weather. The boys know it is a kind of

madness. And that night they watch the posthumous moon on the ridge, then

watch the aneurism of daylight come morning appearing at earth’s edge.

And their bodies hold the scents of primitive underarms and salt. Always

they exist in their skins, and their bones, hidden, become a mask. Come

winter they walk outside into the snow, which makes an empire of erasure,

a beautiful white shadow dreaming its way behind the closed lids of eyes.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 1.

Doug RamspeckDoug Ramspeck is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent of which, Mechanical Fireflies (2011), won the Barrow Street Press Book Prize. His first book, Black Tupelo Country (2009), was awarded the John Ciardi Prize. His poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Slate, Alaska Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. In 2009 he received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. He directs the Writing Center and teaches creative writing at The Ohio State University at Lima.

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