When Word Came of My Mother’s Death
I had just finished an order of fried fish.
I had picked clean the spinal column, lifting it entire and whole from the meat and skin.
I had sucked the meat from the cavities of the head,
had crunched and eaten the crispy tail and fins,
leaving nothing edible;
just the way my mother would go at boiled lobster,
picking and sucking meat from every cavity, from every crevice, from every hidden chamber,
even the spiny, spindly, reed-thin legs,
leaving behind nothing, nothing but bare shell.
Poem forthcoming in the collection, White Fire, published by Ping-Pong Free Press, May 2017.
Professor Emeritus at Monterey Peninsula College where he taught composition, literature, public speaking and humanities for 32 years, Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts is co-editor of the college text Bridges; co-editor/co-translator of two works from the Telugu, Sudha (Nectar) by Chalam and The Selected Verses of Vemana, both of which have been accepted into UNESCO’s Collection of Representative works: Indian Series; and co-author of Bowing to Receive the Mountain: Essays by Lin Jensen and Poetry by Elliot Roberts. His poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies.
Ruchowitz-Roberts serves as Vice President of the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation in Carmel, California. He also coordinates the Foundation’s annual Prize for Poetry and its annual reading series, and serves as a tour docent. He coordinated the National Endowment for the Arts “The Big Read: The Poetry of Robinson Jeffers,” during which he read and performed Jeffers’s poetry at venues throughout Monterey County, including local libraries, high schools and colleges. In 2009 he read Jeffers’ poetry at two bi-lingual readings in Prague, the Czech Republic.
Poet-in-the-Schools for the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Ruchowitz-Roberts presents poetry writing workshops in high schools throughout Monterey County and coordinates the annual Monterey County High School Poetry Awards.
photo credit for featured image: Stewart Ferebee