Memory is the teeth of a lost night: at some hour, it’s demanded I go hungry. I reach the corner where I cannot follow myself / but all roads to the past are named right-the-fuck-now & I can’t tell if the illusion is I don’t have any choice or I don’t have every choice. I need you to come out of the sky now, sky. I need you to walk slowly with your hands up. I’m going to hurt you. This is the bedtime story I tell myself in the middle of the afternoon when I need a bedtime story: it’s not important to know who, if anyone, prays for me/ if those prayers are said in anger or love/ if anger is a sub-set of love then follows love is a sub-set of x then follows x is nameable then follows. Eleven p.m., the sparrows are gathering. & The housecats. & The slugs. We’re all empty-handed, the watering hole is full of air. They say I get it. They say Ruth I fucking get it.

Theories on the Impossibility of Patience

If ever there is no winged thing in your ribcage, I’m sorry. If ever you don’t rename your heart fifty times before you salt & eat it, I’m sorry. Yellow lights mean now, now or now: yellow lights mean go faster, mean fall in any kind of love, you asked the Pisces, love is more important than the object, the object just being the vehicle towards. I’d rather bleed than X: as if there were only two options. As if there were options. As if water molecules wouldn’t change based on the tone I spoke to them with. I’m told twice in a week my throat chakra is strongest: it’s where my gift lies. But I tell you my truth & I sit there & wait & whatever butterflies I’ve given you don’t lead you to me, don’t make me your home.

Ruth Baumann is an MFA student at the University of Memphis, & Managing Editor of The Pinch. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Colorado Review, decomP, New South, Sonora Review & others listed at