Ed Ruzicka

Ooh Ahh Ooh, by Brenden Barraza

Black Dutch

I find you next to me in the bed,
motionless. Brought back from the creamy,
smooth silk the undertaker fixed you
in. I stood, suited, sentry, in front of
two tall candelabra and your casket
as I waited for your family to file in.
But no. Here you lay on your side. Hips,
knees buckled. Blanket tucked to your back.

Your father told the family you were all
Black Dutch, which means part Indian.
Cherokee most likely. I could never
see it in your frame or features. Only
in the way a stillness envelopes you
when you sit or walk or sleep.

I remember coming in from outside
after you first moved in. I could
never find you. I would walk by
the room where you were, keep
wandering the house till I came back.
Got quiet enough myself to really see.

This morning you were next to me
as you have been for over a decade.
I lay stunned, exhausted by sleep,
having been robbed of you, and having
recovered you in so short a time.

Softly, I rested my hand on the blanket
over your ribs. Very softly.

Another Love Poem

I am looking for something that is
close by. I have spent a lot of my life
looking for things that I put down
a minute ago, before the faucet leaked
and I went to get pliers and a screwdriver
but all I could find were Phillips-heads
until I went to the tool chest in the closet.

Anyway, now I am looking for something
the way a geneticist does even as she sips a coke
after spending hours imaging patterned codes
on a computer screen hooked to a microscope,
Looking for parts that haven’t yet been seen
or parts that have been overlooked. What
writes the codes in the first place.

The obvious. Something that tends to
avoid grey matter. Stays in the white, in
the blank, undifferentiated flood of sunlight
that slowly turns blue as swirling motes
reflect light’s abundance. I seem to know so much
these days about things that just pop up. Provinces
in Afghanistan, the way free electrons in carbon
can be bonded within plastics, the nakedness of
movie stars. Random crawl.

I don’t really know a damn thing except
that light sweeps through the room every morning
as you make your way back to bed
from the bathroom in the hall.

I Didn’t Look Back

A babbler I was. A rage and a hunger.
A wee little pee-er, that me.
Father, mother, aunts, uncles,
my sisters, my brothers took me
around in the nooks of their arms,
whisked me up to their shoulders.

I might have seemed a cloud
somehow stirred to flesh. I had
the wind in my eyes for sure all
of those days and all of those nights.

Then my hours turned different.
I began to hold things arm’s length.
Started pulling strings. People
taught me how to pull strings.
Learned to make a puppet dance.
Dance, puppet, dance.

Then a shovel, and a hammer, a saw.
I’ve been those things. Slept in a tool shed.
Blew the nail down. Wrench jaw
bit the pipe. My children came
to me out of the ground.

I didn’t look back until later when mirrors
seemed to plant themselves all over, in hallways,
out in the rained-on streets, in plates.

Now my children come to me in taxis.
They come to me in cars. My children
park in my driveway. They come

in elevators, right up into the hospital.
They sit the night beside me. They wake
to see drips go down into my arm, go down.

We are together in a room with too much
shadow. I am dreaming or I am not.
I am ready again for more or other.
I am ready. Sail me in a box, sailor,
into a tomorrow without mooring.



Ed Ruzicka has published one full length volume, “Engines of Belief”. His poems have appeared in the Atlanta Review, Rattle, the New Millennium Review, and Chicago Literati, as well as many other literary journals and anthologies. Ed lives in Baton Rogue, LA with his wife Renee and is an occupational therapist. More works can be found on his website, edrpoet.com.