The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: mud blooms by Ruth Dickey


This selection, chosen by guest curator Heather Leigh, is from mud blooms by Ruth Dickey, released by Harbor Mountain Press in 2019. 

Mercado, San Cristobal de las Casas: Three Sonnets

you come with huge, upturned eyes

Cómprame rings in my ears like a bell

my friend buys tiny chicles in pastel colors

I say no, over and over again

one day, in the market

my purchases weigh like hot stones

I relent and we walk to the pastry stand

you select the moment’s desire

the vendor smiles

Torta de piña

I could purchase her whole stand

with sugar and flour

it would never be enough

I buy placemats, napkins, haggling over pesos

selling chicle, plumas, pulceras, shoe shines

calling me to a table where you are not invited

the thought of chewing makes me dizzy

like a prayer

you appear

burn my hands as you ask

Cómprame uno. Regálame un peso.

and four more children appear, grinning

telling me the smallest one’s favorite

many people must do this

coating the city

like an unexpected snowstorm

the bell still rings

my stomach fills with ash and stones


Ruth Dickey’s first book, Mud Blooms, was selected for the MURA Award from Harbor Mountain Press and awarded a 2019 Silver Nautilus. The recipient of a Mayor’s Arts Award from Washington DC, and a grant from the DC Commission and Arts and Humanities, Ruth is an ardent fan of dogs and coffee, and is in the midst of moving from Seattle to Brooklyn. Her poems and essays have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Kestrel, Ocean StateReview, Painted Bride Quarterly, Rhino, SWIMM, Vice Versa, andZocalo Public Square.

Heather Leigh is a queer, disabled writer and editor who has been working within Chicago’s publishing world for more than twenty years, editing poetry for the likes of Curbside Splendor and reading prose and poetry for Uncanny Magazine. She has recently began to focus on her own publication goals between semesters teaching English, writing, reading, and journalism at various midwestern community colleges. She is a three-time SAFTA fellowship recipient, a multiple resident of Firefly Farms, and most recently had a speculative horror story published in Bloodlet, an anthology by CultureCult Press. She lives in Chicago with a retired cage-fighting poet, two rescue cats names after Buffy watchers, enjoying life with the family that caught her by surprise.

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