Mary Ruefle

po_Ruefle-MaryMary Ruefle (born April 16, 1952) is an American poet, essayist, and professor.

She has published eleven collections of poetry, most recently, Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013). Ruefle’s debut collection of prose, The Most Of It, appeared in 2008 and her collected lectures, Madness, Rack, and Honey, was published in August 2012, both published by Wave Books.

THE HAND
Mary Ruefle

The teacher asks a question.
You know the answer, you suspect
you are the only one in the classroom
who knows the answer, because the person
in question is yourself, and on that
you are the greatest living authority,
but you don’t raise your hand.
You raise the top of your desk
and take out an apple.
You look out the window.
You don’t raise your hand and there is
some essential beauty in your fingers,
which aren’t even drumming, but lie
flat and peaceful.
The teacher repeats the question.
Outside the window, on an overhanging branch,
a robin is ruffling its feathers
and spring is in the air.