Paperback Price: $9.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1882295012

Selected Poem

Lesson in a Language I Can't Speak Yet

The jellyfish lies naked on the sand,
a circle I can see through to the brightest harvest
of stones. On one side of it is white foam,
on the other black seagrass.
A gold line of sunlight circles the bay.
I don’t know how the life of a jellyfish begins,
I don’t know where its sex is,
or why the circle is its shape among
all the shapes in the world. The flesh-colored
armor of crabs dries on wet sand.
The snail retreats when I touch it.
The footprints I leave here are full of the vanished
weight of the body.
The heart of the jellyfish is clear,
I was born deaf to the sounds it makes, its cells that shine
next to the rough arms of the starfish,
the starfish that can regenerate
its severed limbs. I have entered
another country, where lost parts of myself re-form;
hatred from the same salty center as love,
desire that had been torn from me.
I have to be open to powers
I know nothing about.
Identity in small things,
the jellyfish that smells like the sea,
the sea that touches all corners of the earth at once,
holes in the sand where mussels breathe.

The Wild Field

“This is a book of fury and memory. It takes all the lyric agendas—flowers and distances and pastoral occasions—to the very edge of language and anger. And on that edge craft is scalded by a real cadence of remembrance and reproach, and a true adventure of womanhood and sexuality. These are often beautiful poems. They make much of dailiness and its icons—wings and petals and a man’s shirt. But they are never easy poems: they make claims upon their own experience, they make claims upon our attention.”
—Eavan Boland

“In this piercing first book the poet’s art is consciousness. When Rita Gabis shines the light of memory on one woman’s history, she reveals an intimate portrait of the feminine human life. These are ceremony poems where the ordinary and mythic come to meet through passionate chants of understanding. The Wild Field bodies the word in us: fragrant, erotically rooted, and holding our own.”
—Carol Conroy


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