Cords of silken blood flow in the peaks

and passes of my body, a traveling

miracle, while I read the news,

all of which barely reaches me –

economies of elections, wars, and

minerals harvested from asteroids

in the celestial commerce of billionaires.

Numb with armchair trade,

I remember the seduction

of the Silk Road. Quieted, I hear 

spirit through the flutes of my bones –

the music of the steppes, the tinkle of pots

on your back. I smell the fust of Turkish

rugs on the floor and know

I would walk a thousand miles 

to curl up on felt-covered stone with you

and these other traveling strangers, harbored 

inside trusted walls, away from danger.

In the morning we finger sunrise apricots

in a copper breakfast bowl

before recommencing our planetary journey, 

a mouthful of sweet chai, and I ask

what you know of the soul’s trade –

its breakdowns, its tinkerings

its thieves and swindlers? And you say,

tonight we will come again to a caravanserai, 

a courtyard of companionship, a warm stop 

on the long road. Nothing else matters.

The earth's economy


Just when I thought the day

had nothing left to give,

when heat was ladled across

the shallow dry plate

of the nation, working or not, alive 

or not, my country

road home from work

an affair of sour radio news and roadkill –

the furred skunk, possum, cat,

squirrel, raccoon, in the 

special economy of the outward-

facing nose, lost in final scent,

the surrendered open mouth, 

forehead pressed back in frozen

tragedy, tension gone, time done,

appetite dissolving into skull –

I find myself at the kitchen counter

in a different Americana, tearing 

kale ruffles from their spines

for a chilled supper of greens with lemon

and oil, Dijon, garlic, cucumber –

live, wet and impossibly cool from the

earth garden just outside the door,

where the farmer’s wife one hundred

years ago also opened her apron

like a cradle, gingerly receiving

into thin billowing cotton pockets

as much as she could carry

as much as she could carry



Evening flight


If I could look down from above

on croplands bordered by tree fences, bare branched,

a shadow of dust like a flock of finches

behind the farmer’s slicing disc,

my car a small crawler on a thin groundway

of gray, dividing green and brown fields in two


If instead of the whispered mourning moon of

the saxophone from car speakers

I could only hear the muffled, distant nicker

of a horse from her open stall


If my thoughts were these dun birds, flying,

and all the great world below

tree hollows and rummages of berries


If in the coming winter

all became clear – leaves blown gone,

the globe sheeted white, dried grass heads

floating over her like candle flames above paraffin


If the world were seeds

and my thoughts birds upon them,

unlocking them, one by one

with my mind-heart’s strong, cleaving beak


If I could write from here, and break

the world in two like that

so it could germinate through me,

become a whole thing again,

I would.


Ruth Mowry grew up in a Baptist preacher’s home and always wondered if there might not be a deeper spiritual calling than the religious teachings surrounding her. In the middle of her own family life with her husband and two children she returned to university to complete her undergraduate degree in English, and discovered poetry writing. This exploration coincided with departure from church, and it was through that separation and writing that the spiritual work began afresh, so maybe it is not surprising that writing has become her spiritual practice.

Today much of her writing launches from the rural Michigan setting where she lives with her husband, finding in nature a replenishing life source for the spiritual journey. Ruth’s poems have been published in a few print and online journals. She blogs at washed stones

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