For Ruth 

If there were a god he would have made you

ground your belly into which he blows air

with mouth and bellows stemmed your bleeding

and slid you tethered to a belt or chain

to a cool place in the oven


the knight is the only chess piece with eyes

its manes are straight as bones and fins

its muzzle reaches for the bishop’s groove

the king’s cross the rook and pawn

the ball on the queen’s hat


but god becomes land consolidation macaroons

or anodized the ten-cent coin the sea stars

step up the fair the wheel of the watermill

not quite underwater the whiskers of an otter

jewels of a human being bathing and drying.