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. 

The alkalis and nitrates of your sacred offerings

crows turn things blue, bring messages
be careful, learn to watch for offerings

even numbers mean a good day, odds mean watch out
can’t listen to pigeons, too many

but if you see an owl, get ready
read your stars in the papers

sparrows always want what you’re eating
tell you about the hungers coming

mockingbirds tell you when pride will trip you up
don’t trim your beard when anyone’s looking

blue jays mean someone’s coming and danger
bury nail clippings under bushes near clover

chickadees mean money coming
see gold in their bright bellies

robins got red breasts, mean cover your heart
out here, you got to watch the salts and basics

brother, if you got extra, feed the birds


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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