Ruth Foley

Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her recent work is appearing or forthcoming from Redheaded Stepchild, The Bellingham Review, Yemassee, and Sou’wester, among others, and her chapbook Dear Turquoise is available from Dancing Girl Press. She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review. Her blog is Five Things.




I’ve been told—a lie—it is impossible
to fold a single piece of paper more

than seven times. I would crease and
bend, smooth myself flat, curl over

my own skin in layers of molting
calcium and discarded carapace. I

would fit myself into the smallest place—
under the rotting board of the back

porch, into the funnel-woven web
where patience waits for the smallest

vibration. Or best: between the two
stones at the base of the sea wall.

There, I could begin again to breathe.
I have lost my ground, been too long

away from my hermit cousins. Once
folded, I could reclaim my pioneer

shell, return—clean-washed if not
pristine—to something narrow and

capable. Once stolen, it would be
almost fitted again, almost mine.



            for Anne

She sees the spaces we have forsaken
—the spokes of a Ferris wheel stilled,

empty gondolas transfixed in irradiated
air—and curses us for our desertion.

How little we know of care or maintenance,
how much we allow ourselves to lose to

perforated vessels. Entire cities betrayed,
branches reaching through surrendered

windows, the homes we refuse to reclaim.
The trains decanted, or long since shunted

or rumbled to other lines, cannot cross such
crumbling trestles, leaving us without any

way of getting out, she says. God, yes.
A single passenger, her luggage dragging

a path through the plaster-fallen floor,
could take a bench and rest. No one to

find her here, no one to ask her for
the time, or for anything at all—seduced,

she could be the one who chooses, the one
who leaves, the ever-vanished woman.

One thought on “Ruth Foley”

  1. Your poem ‘Benthos’ speaks very strongly to me. Thank you for it. I must now go find your blog.

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