Ruth Wiggins, a British poet based in London, has had her work published in journals and anthologies at home and abroad. Her first pamphlet, Myrtle, was published by The Emma Press; her second, a handful of string, by Paekakariki. Ruth's first full collection, The Lost Book of Barkynge – a lyric history of Barking Abbey – will be published by Shearsman Books in 2023.
The feral dogs can smell the glitch inside
the cardboard box – two salvaged female
pups, not yipping much, as they are carried
across the unadopted lot, their sister
discarded on the sidewalk. The tourists
(like us they are here, and yet they are not)
can't quite get with the programme. We have
three weeks on them and watch as they make
for the grocery store, cardboard crib fading
in their arms. Next morning, we see them
outside the temple. The pups have spent the
night in a tee shirt, dining on peas and tuna.
A food bowl improvised from the bottom of
a bottle, moulding not unlike their mother's
paw print. They have a sign that reads – TO
TAKE – a little heart to encourage the monks
and stallholders. But no one wants a girl pup.
In the National Gallery behind Sükhbaatar
there is a bust entitled Give Me a Daughter.
Give me a daughter, one with a soft-furred
belly, fat with peas and tuna. Make her
golden eyed and skittle legged, and with a
bark to raise the dead.
From Playing the Bear
Do you feel my weight
pressing on the atmosphere?
Out here, circling.
Jointed with stars, my
dazzling exile. Not to touch
the Earth, nor wet my toes –
Hera's vow, extracted
from the Ocean. But gingerly
the Earth shifts its hip
and I am dipped, a claw
to prise off the lid,
to get at something sweet.
As one entering
I will tear away the sky
and climb back in.
Your woods recede,
do you think of me?
The girl that once ran
at your Virgin side.
Me, who could bend the bow
like no other, spit
further than the rest.
O thumb away
the black smudge upon my lip
kiss me again,
K is for Keats
In bright white sparks I try to pick your whole name
from the night
sparkler in my hand the whip
of the upright
the K that is gone the K that is velar plosive tongue
against soft palate
pulmonic consonant after which
all airflow ceases gone before the flourish of
t into s really takes in the air
And so instead I slip you
finger deep into estuary
mud that holds you
holds until tide yearning to be held by reeds steals
back into the creek
lifts you out to sea
how cease holds the sea which does not cease
how cease holds the sea holds the sea
which does not cease
Daughters: The Poetry Review (Vol. 108, No. 4)
Kallisto / K is for Keats: exclusive first publication by iamb