Rebecca M. Ross


Jack Reaches Out On My Behalf

While on my knees
installing young pepper plants,
sun poking out
from behind the cover of clouds
my neighbor confesses

"I'm not a religious guy but
I'm gonna pray for your garden this year"
as if that will miraculously
double the zucchini
or fatten the tomatoes
or yield peppers larger
than the angry fist
of a red-faced infant
threatening a strange new world

He stands just downhill,
close enough to be
accidentally baptized
with the spray of water from the hose or
anointed in a haze of dust and clay
dug from the depths of this small plot

Neither am I religious
(my own practice fallow)  
nor offended by his offer,

and so, with arms open
to catch crumbs of fresh dirt
and flecks of occasional sun,

I accept this indulgent
generosity of spirit and
hope for abundance
without even thinking
that maybe he means
I'm such a bad gardener
that a prayer to his god
is my only salvation





The Underground

In the dark
I sought
mystical kabbalistic connections
magical third eye wisdom
expecting the sublime to
steal my breath
wrench my soul
from my stomach
snap my essence
from the base of my brain
and stick fast in my throat

Restoration of light
melted splendorous glowing stones
sinking into reinforced concrete walls
upon which disco colors and strobe lights
played among puddles and pedestrians
as throbbing drums shook corners
littered with abandoned bottles

Had the sirens
belted out their piercing wail,
we would have sheltered together
suddenly sober
lurking in war zones
foisting maturity upon us
while bombs
rained down




Rebecca M. Ross is a writer, educator, and avid hiker and backpacker currently living in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her work has recently been published in Peeking Cat, and has not-so-recently been published in Unpious, Jewish, Errant Parent, and other online and print publications. She has poetry forthcoming in The Westchester Review.