FNS: All This Singing from Ruth Foley

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Every Friday night we will feature a short story, essay, personal narrative,
poem, spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.

Helen Presents: a poem from Ruth Foley


“If there weren’t a sky within your chest worth breaking, believe me, you would have stopped all this singing by now.” –Patrick Rosal

For what it’s worth, the sky fractured again
today, when we had at last grown convinced
of April, when we all were busy watching
the clearings for daffodils. The sun split
and emptied pins of hail, the sound of
hardened summer, too small to be collected,
too small for the records. And I was playing
torch songs again, too loud, lighting matches
in the car on familiar roads, creating men
to sing them for because the songs for
the good men can fray and loosen in ways
these bar-smoke ballads can’t—the do-wrong
man is always patient, wrong in new ways
every time I think I’ve finally straightened out
his harmonies and I’ve always claimed to love him
more despite the choking at the back of his throat
or because of it. For what it’s worth, I never
learned to crack like that. For what it’s worth,
I never asked that broken man for anything.


Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears in numerous web and print journals, including Antiphon, The Bellingham Review, The Louisville Review, and Nonbinary Review. Her chapbook Dear Turquoise is available from Dancing Girl Press. She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review.

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