from the editors

current issue

past issues



Follow UCityReview on Twitter



Ronda Piszk Broatch

All the Hardest Things Have Been Taken

Because I Learn That Scoby Is Actually a Symbiotic Growth of Acetic Acid Bacteria and Osmophilic Yeast Species in a Zoogloeal Mat

Delirium Song

I Am an Owl on a House of Cards

In the Blind Spot

Soft Side Down

All the Hardest Things Have Been Taken

Instead of heartbeats we have a good night
coffin. Instead of writing a small little poem I wish

to be forgiven. I’m glad our only suitcase hasn’t
been crushed under the news that we’re all

going to be swept up within the appointed Hour,
depending. Dear Definitely, Dearest Dear Lord

Almighty we are masked, are shocked and
shattered these days, checking our mail every

few minutes. We’ve built and rebuilt our lives
out of wax, and our gloves fit us too tightly

since the rainstorms flooded our dreams. I’m
zippering my kisser, pursing my purse-stuck stick

of lipstick promising a smudge of Cardiac Red-
emption, bombproof in any kind of weather.

Return to list of poems

Because I Learn That Scoby Is Actually a Symbiotic Growth of Acetic Acid Bacteria and Osmophilic Yeast Species in a Zoogloeal Mat

The aspic feels ravished, and I mean that
in a good way, the way it captivates the pâté

beneath it like a protective lover. I am
in the state of Bordeaux, in spring, I am

in my sixth cup, but who counts anymore?
The place beneath my breasts is equatorial.

The kombucha mushroom loves some hibiscus
gingerly. I mean that in a way. Good, good.

Meanwhile my Bordeaux is red as all get out. Organic
and raw. In towns here and there are streets

called Linger Longer, called Oh My God and Pickle
Dog Lane. Where are the weapons we used

to cut our meat, what are those words I used to know
so quickly, so tongue-tip? In the dark

walls spring up before us. In the dark,
I find my way step by shock by sharp stone.

Return to list of poems

Delirium Song

Solitude is the song I cover my ears for when you discover your
rare psychosis. You call me when my childhood dogs run off,
invent a husband from dirt and anesthesia, leukemia and death,
souls itching for return these seven years running. Answering the call

is dangerous in my book, as you search for car keys and cry
wolf when your brother reassembles his ashes into meanness.
Suspicion is the garment of your family, the practiced elbow-jab
and art I spit from my mutant gene, praying for a heritage of tallow  

and Knödel. You know my buttons, anticipate days dogs fly
northward and the last ferry has gone without you on it. Everywhere and
nowhere the dead rise to chide, to withhold thousands of dollars,
fool that you are, so giving, so taken. Even your aides eye your gold

and diamonds with designs. I swear, next time the horn sounds loudly I’ll go
mad, singing every delirium song I can remember, ancient, and not yet writ.

Return to list of poems

I Am an Owl on a House of Cards

I don’t mean to guard these unswept feathers
so dearly, dearest. Just know that walking on
water’s better than dying, and jellyfish only

sting when blood pools in murmurs. The sea
can do craziness, it can predate like the shark,
hold you gut-close, spit out what is unholy,

unchewed. And I don’t mean I eschew the drift
and draw of water, I mean chew, as in pierced,
as in initiation into this one deck we all are part

of. Some days I’m harpy, happy to sup on un-
certainty, certainly birdlike in every way. When I
try to be good, my halo bruises fever into skin,

ink-red and fluent. Most days I burrow with jokers,
never fold my wings, not even for an ace.

Return to list of poems

In the Blind Spot

In one version of the truth I was stunned,
stoned into speaking the words good and God,

gold in the pocket of spent shadows.
When the lion and lamb lay down together,

my mother was at the store. No one was
injured, no one eaten in a pool

of midnight ravening. I was alien
to our lady of atheism,

aligned with the chakras of wonder.
In one version of truth God was the lion

and I was a well of sea salt. Nothing
was so tempting, so divine as midnight

offering afterbirth, sweet lamb altar-burnt in
shapes of saints, angels, and all else between.

Return to list of poems

Soft Side Down

Twenty-four seven, someone stares at internet content,
deleting. Delete, delete, ignore, delete …
Meanwhile there are those who upload a zodiac

of lies, someone else is picking up fake penises, just to become
acquainted with the real thing because she didn’t know
anything about penises. Ignore, ignore, delete, ignore ...

Meanwhile a cat, frenzied by three Steller’s jays and a red-shafted
flicker blurs, all young muscle and cooped-up adrenaline, knocks
over an iMac, changes file names of a disappeared hard-

drive. Meanwhile you find solace behind a lawn mower
grinding up leaves and grass and those whirly maple seeds
before the rain comes, and the sperm is coming, you can be sure

it’ll rain before long, before the poet in that unnatural silence
we all smile in, studying our feet, the temporary art lining the walls,
until she sighs, finally finding the poem she’ll next read

to the audience doing its best to shepherd the passing seconds
to their orderly corrals. Meanwhile the produce guy carefully
arranges the latest crate of tomatoes soft side down.

Return to list of poems


Ronda Piszk Broatch is the author of Lake of Fallen Constellations, (MoonPath Press). She is the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant. Ronda’s journal publications include Fugue, Blackbird, 2River, Sycamore Review, Missouri Review, Palette Poetry, and NPR News / KUOW’s All Things Considered. She is a graduate student working toward her MFA at Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writing Workshop.

Return to list of poems

copyright 2010-2022 ucity review