Avia Tadmor

Ruth from a Foreign Field
by Avia Tadmor

I forgot where Dibon was. Forgot
where Edom was. Barefoot I crossed rivers

Arnon and Nimrim. My feet made sounds
the banks had never heard. And twice

if I remembered my father
I didn’t know what to do with my heart.

Or with the Phoenician tongue,
my Moabite Kingdom: I carried it

already broken, persistent
inside me, the hunger

of dogs. At night in my makeshift bed
under the junipers, Canaanite winds

were plucking the leaves off branches
like tongues they tasted the world

tasting like ash; like the old country
that kept spinning itself around the mind—

a knitted blanket: the limestone hills and barren
plateaus, the youngest ewe

born hoof-less
and nursing through winter, the snow kept falling

even in spring. How the four old women
who raised me returned each night, knitting around

in my voice to warn me
against my inappropriate heart.

But the heart, she kept turning and turning
my feet against the trees’ difficult roots.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 1.

Avia TadmorAvia Tadmor was born in Israel. She received a BA from Harvard University and is currently completing her MFA in poetry and literary translation at Columbia University, where she also teaches undergraduate writing. In 2016, she was named a finalist for the Indiana Review Poetry Prize.

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