August 10, 2016

Ruth Madievsky

PARAGARD

I was in a lecture hall, explaining how the copper IUD works,
talking about how metal ions
change the intrauterine environment, making sperm
swim all gimpy like they’ve had
too many drinks. I was trying not to notice
the dark shoving my head
in a toilet, the way three months earlier
it cannonballed into my grandmother’s CT scan.
It hid within her kidney like the plastic
baby inside a King Cake,
and then it was nothing like a King Cake
once we found it in her lungs, liver, and bones.
I was using words
like cervical mucus and nulliparous.
I was thinking about the body
and its mousetraps.
How the copper IUD
does to fertilized eggs what the body should
but doesn’t do to tumors,
which is to say, prevents them,
either from forming or implanting—no one knows exactly
how it works, but it does. I want to
believe in the elegance
of chemicals
and the elegance of the person
mixing the chemicals,
but I know there’s only so much dark
you can pass
like a kidney stone. Medicine
can’t promise us anything, can only
paddle from one buoy
to another, maybe
harpooning the shark or being eaten by the shark
or shooting cannons at swimmers
and becoming a bigger problem
than the shark.

from Rattle #52, Summer 2016
Tribute to Angelenos

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__________

Ruth Madievsky: “Though I was born outside the U.S., in Moldova, I’ve lived in Los Angeles for most of my life. To be a Los Angeles poet is to negotiate the city’s many contradictions: the lively literary scene and the flawed public transit system that makes it difficult to access; the glamour and extreme poverty that are often just around the corner from each other; the lights and skyscrapers, their beauty and ugliness. The particular imagery of Los Angeles is always making its way into my poems. I love living in this city and being a poet in it.” (website)

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October 20, 2015

Ruth Madievsky

TUNING FORK

Now I remember:
I was telling strangers at the birthday party
about all the ways in which our cells
are trying not to be forest fires.
How inside each cell is a tuning fork
and inside each tuning fork,
the coiled music of our DNA.
I was floating somewhere between
the beer cooler and the red eyes
of three cigarettes
the way I imagine silk floats
inside a spider.
Inside, my friend was calling his mother
in the bathroom, while outside,
the woman he wanted to love
picked a hole in her tights.
I was close enough to catch
the blue smoke
that escaped her like a bird,
which was closer than the distance
between the benzodiazepine in my pocket
and the back of my throat.
I was thinking about how I am always
running towards or away from myself.
Why I keep opening my eyes
underwater, what I hope to see.
We picked at a cake
someone bought at a supermarket,
toasted to mercy
though none of us knew what it meant.
My friend told me he wished
for someone to treat his body
like a public park.
I’m sick of careful, he said,
which got me thinking about why
I feel some days like a narrowly avoided bike accident,
and on others like I have been tree-ringed
by the man who took my silence
to mean yes.
Which I guess is like asking
why the mind has a shorter memory
than the body.
Whether the language of the body
could ever fit inside a throat.

from Rattle #49, Fall 2015
Tribute to Scientists

__________

Ruth Madievsky: “I’m a doctoral student at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy and a research assistant at an HIV clinic specializing in maternal care in Downtown Los Angeles. My philosophy on the intersection of medicine and poetry is this: medicine lets us live; poetry gives us a reason to. In the words of Hervé Guibert, ‘In writing I am always both the scientist and the rat he slits open to do his research.’” (web)

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