Ruth Bavetta – Five Poems


After September

Summer’s box closes
upon the sugar of heat
and roses. Days of haze
blur the horizon
like a finger dragged in wet paint.
The dove in the magnolia
ceases its plaintive call,
and all that the sun pleases
is released into relaxation.
The liquidambars drop
their hands of red and gold,
and the old fans of the palms
sweep against the grass.
At last, at last.


Livre Blanc

White as the sands of Laguna
under the silver sun. White
as the song of a moonblind cat.
White as Alençon lace torn
from the hem of a forgotten gown.
White as cotton in the mouth
of an unborn child. White
as the roses of redemption.
White as the walls of silence.


I Organize My Days

by color. Blue for the ocean churning
under the pier.  Your laughter yellow
as the sun that hits the beach at noon.
I drown in the purple of our lost nights.
I brought cool sherbet of palest
orange to spoon into your mouth,
dark chocolate to melt
upon your tongue.
You turned your head and died.
I wander in the green dark
on a headland seized by night.
There should be lighthouses
along the coast to show me
how to live away from you.



depended on fog unraveling,
taking what that was left
of the weakening sun, on the funereal
green of the magnolia leaves clattering
to the bricks below, on there having been
only one path beyond the sea.
I sent you through,
into the shimmering water.
A hawk lifted in the breeze.


My favorite color

is blue shading to grey
on the Pacific’s wide horizon.
Is the orange glow of clivia
under the olive’s silver
leaves, the sun
setting over Catalina.
Our first day in Paris.
Night under the midnight sun.
The taste of the sea,
the smell of pines.
Carnations, gardenias, ginger.
The smell of the shirt
you left behind.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

I have always been fascinated by the juxtaposition of beauty and danger—aspects of life which often collide or intertwine. When I was a practicing artist my work often explored this subject. For several years I devoted much of my time to a series of still lifes mingling the beauty of such things as flowers, fish, or pearls with the beauty of broken glass which reflects light and threatens anyone who touches it. I find that my poems often follow this same trajectory. I’m lucky enough to live in Southern California where there has always been beauty outside my window. It’s frequently the hook on which I hang my poem as I discover where my writing leads me, to loveliness or to pain.  


Ruth Bavetta is a poet and artist whose poems have been published in Rhino, Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, and many others. Her work is included in four anthologies. Her books are Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press) and Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press) and Flour, Water, Salt (FutureCycle Press.) No Longer at this Address (Aldritch Press) is forthcoming. More at