Candice Reffe

Two poems from Candice Reffe’s God Flattery

followed by a note on the author

from God Flattery

Under the veil, two strips of white first-aid tape cross her lips. Under the tape, her lips are bound by
stiff thread lest any words fall out, but Ruth was not a gossip.

God’s bride, Ruth would not indict her soul’s passage.

Ruth’s ten-year old daughter sprinkles sand on her face, her heart, the vee between her thighs. Her
six-year-old son is home watching cartoons. The daughter is wearing PJ bottoms printed with polar
bears and her mother’s moth-eaten sweater, a torn ribbon pinned to her heart. Tomorrow, she’ll
move the ribbon to a black dress, but today she doesn’t have to dress like death.



from God Flattery

Certified by a rabbi, the sand’s extracted from Mount Olivet, a three-thousand-year-old necropolis
where a Biblical who’s who is interred, the departure point for resurrection when the world ends.
From the diaspora, Ruth does not have a direct flight: The sand is her transportation.

No one sees me snatch the empty Olivet packet from the waste basket, divine grit camped on its
lips. Memento, dead-friend souvenir. I flatten the wrapper and file it in a folder labeled Ruth.

Ruth flattened. Ruth reduced.



Candice Reffe’s book of poems Live from the Mood Board, an insider’s view of the fashion world and corporate power, won Elixir Press’s Antivenom Poetry Award and was published in 2019. Twice a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and a Mass Cultural Council Artist fellow, Candice’s poems have appeared in Denver Quarterly, Harvard Review, Hotel Amerika, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Witness and elsewhere. She lives in Northampton, MA.