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. 

Take deep breaths
hold a pen
sit still

Oh sky, grant these poets safety: dry socks, lullabies, and soft lighting.
Grant these poets a lifting of insufferable griefs; wrap them

in shawls of spring winds. Bring muses to these poets: panting
harvest moons, fireflies winking beneath wet leaves,

the few brave stars that break city smog.
Cast yourself into gargoyles on office buildings

watch over alleys, doorways, park benches.
Blow soft into each ear during sleep:

You are essential as iodine, precious as infants, magnificent
as twisting live oaks.
Send sun to glow within each gut,

shine from fingers and toes. Bless them with wonder for
each improbable dandelion cracking sidewalk. Bless them

with limitless paper and pens that never run dry.
Oh sky, perfect with bruise-colored clouds,

lick each raw wound with sunlight, knit together all that has been torn,
embrace the parts unseen and hidden, and rock these poets

through each long night, murmuring lotuses, blooming mud.

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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