Laura Ramos

Laura Ramos

HOPE IS NOT A BITTER VALIUM

after Tadeusz Rozewicz

Hope is not a bitter Valium, dispensed
by jump-roping popes and politicians, nor

a wick strung on a yo-yo
of candies we swallow
whole.

It is not the strum
of a mistress’s guitar string, nor

a scratch-off prize
in a bread line.

What it is: the purposeful crush of calcite skeletons
into limestone, the buoyant
wallpaper in a barren nursery, the shared scald
of hot cocoa that whips our genetic froth.

If this is all we are—mere bugs in a Mason jar, whose eyelash legs
keep winking
against the glass—let us
grasp this cobweb ladder, and let it
lift us up.

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WHAT IS YOUR CHIEF COMPLAINT?

 

My coat is white for a reason:
Behind the curtain, I will listen
And let you paint me with your palette of poxes.

There’s a touch of hypochondria in all of us,
And without release, the pressure will erupt
like pustules of some unnamed female disorder.

You have it. I have it, too.
Spin me your history of plagues.
My ear will capture them all like flies.

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LAURA RAMOS is a former magazine editor who lives north of Chicago, Illinois. Her work has appeared in Southern Indiana Review, elimae, The Orange Room Review, and The Prose-Poem Project. She teaches writing at StoryStudio North Shore.

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Read more work by Laura Ramos:

elimae
The Orange Room Review
The Prose-Poem Project

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