Anele Rubin

Two poems from Anele Rubin’s These Trinkets I Return to You

followed by a note on the author

Like Job

Is it April when the spring peepers
start their chants
that seem to come from
every inch of the valley flooded
by melted snow?
How green suddenly spreads over
what was frozen,
then thawed, muddy,
the fresh graves.

My heart has not sewn itself,
not mended,
and old scars are still
thick and ropey
under new wounds.
I feel them when I breathe,
feel them hardest
when I start to laugh
yet now the green spreads
over the mountains and the valleys
and the raspberry bushes have white blossoms
and purple and blue flowers interrupt the vast green

and the sun is warm on my small head
and the slight breeze touches my face and shoulders and
I want to brace my heart
as against a dangerous lover,
but I give in:
as I allowed the unexpected hurt
I allow the inexplicable balm

and on and on whenever death comes
and finishes things off
and you almost can’t stand it
but you know you have to if you want to live
and you know you want to live
so when the sun shines on the trees
with their new green leaves
you let it sway you though you
never liked Job.



These People

These people strolling through the park
with baby carriages and frisbees
have no idea
my sister choked to death
on a sausage
after being released
from a mental hospital down south
but they may know I’ve been crying
and wonder what I’m writing
in my little yellow book
sitting in the grass next to the only dandelion
left in the park
with my big black dog
whose fur is shaven on one side
and they may notice
I’m wearing yesterday’s clothes
and my grey hair hasn’t been combed lately,
but maybe not,
because a young woman with a child
stops before me,
asks where the duck pond is
and waits, smiling,
as I explain the best route
and her little girl
looks right in my face,
asks if she can pet my dog
and what his name is, says
he’s pretty.



Like Job appeared in december; These People appeared in New Ohio Review.

Anele Margaret Rubin was born in Washington, D.C., in 1951, and grew up in Maryland, Nevada, and Louisiana. She has degrees in English from Louisiana State University and New York University’s Graduate Writing Program, as well as a Certificate in Advanced Religious Studies from NYU. She taught at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus for over thirty years, and currently lives in Upstate New York. Her book Trying to Speak, which won the Wick Poetry Prize, was published by Kent State University Press in 2005. She has had poems in Cutthroat, Poet Lore, New Ohio Review, Rattle, The Café Review, Miramar, Atlanta Review, Paterson Literary Review, december, and elsewhere.