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. 

What Robin Hood Really Did

All y’all supposed to be helping, supposed to get a man
on his feet: just fat ticks on a mangy dog.

Without me, you’d be out of work. You’d be Monopoly money.
Same as the jail lets a man out in a t-shirt, no coat in January.

Want a man hungry enough to get locked back up.
And you, you want a man on the street. You want

a man in here every day so you can feel good.
Nobody asked if I want your damn eggs. Don’t think

I don’t know. You keep me down, picture me hungry and you
handing me something. Hold that picture like some lucky penny

you found. What’s it take to run this place? Three hundred grand?
Hundred and fifty people sitting in here hungry. You do the math.

Two grand a piece. Security deposit, first month’s rent.
New clothes, food that I picked. Stop keeping a man down.

You want to help me, you got to give up what you got.


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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