Eratio Issue 17






by A. M. Ringwalt





Syria like a museum piece

Something watched from afar

To say I know it is to say I know

Haiti, which is false


I sort of know the D.R.

I know the warmth and feels

But to say I know Haiti

Is like saying I’m fluent in French

Which is sort-of false


Syria unlike a penthouse misunderstood

A beauty passed out in a dressing room

Or savagely killed salad, red onions hanging

From windows like experience and regret

An instrument praying for hands to pluck it


Ash, water hyacinth, paddleboat

An infant in the arms of a self-professed ill

Mother with the coffee soaked tongue

And crossed legs draping over

just-washed sheets


Like a steadfast sickening

The parlor fills again at night

And gathered around a TV

People try to know despair


In algebra class boys

Fix their eyes on girls’ crotches

As if to say Are they bleeding yet


Syria I am a photo looked at in passing

So sort-of ignored I’m a Gmail hacked

Or rolled ankle nursed and safe once again

I am something recoverable, not you


I can summon things like

A blown glass blue colored frock

With embroidered chickens

Bought by a father

On a surf trip to Baja

I can will memories back

But that won’t strengthen


Send for the caretakers the moms

The aching acknowledgement

Of affirmatives the nurturing

Of acknowledgement I could say

In a poorly scripted love-letter

Things that may reign true

And yet you hurt


I’ll wrap wounds in that frock

And when I kiss my lover it’s you

When I bathe at night it’s you

When I hold a child it’s you,

July, progression, nervous blushing

An organist’s introit, wintergreen leaf,

The water and the shaven leg










Writing by A. M. Ringwalt has appeared or is forthcoming in NOTHING TO SAY by 79 Rat Press/eight cuts, DUM DUM Zine: Punks and Scholars, BROWN GOD, OF ZOOS, Cargoes and Hanging Loose.