Ronda Broatch



How to Make Plum Dumplings

          Pluck them
purple under dusky coats,
     polish against thigh,
               take a bite —

          Ah. Now hold
the stoneware bowl
     swollen with gems
               to your breast,

          sit on the porch,
inhale the bluing-
     to-indigo sky,

          twilight to your table,
lap spilling over
     with ovals. With one
               arced flick,

          liberate the pit,
(but leave the skin),
     heal again whole.
               Center in dough,

          fold corners,
massage between palms
     until seamless, smooth.
               Drop into blue

          enameled pot, flame hot,
flesh yielding, skin
     bleeding its night shade
               crimson to aubergine—.

          breathe in steam.
When risen, tender,
     slip from water,

          in crumb and butter,
lover, in cinnamon
     sugar, and a lick
               of cream.

First appeared in the Atlanta Review, spring 2007




I Dream a House with Many Floors

          more stories than my own
to explore, with a view
               above the holly tree,

          the yew.
Nights, as a child
               I flew through the living

          room and kitchen, mostly,
hair brushing ceiling.
               Often I’d soar

          out of the window, skim
rooftops, tops of firs
               and the apple wood,

     in search
of heavenly elevation.
               A midnight height

     to house
chambers like the hidden
               room behind the wardrobe,

     pale light breathing green
through a simple window
               obscured by trees.

in the treasured gloom:
               A babble of books

     in a foreign tongue.
Woolen coats in repose,
               sheathed in sheets and moth wings.

     Velvet smoothed with use,
hats lined with tattered
               thoughts trail their plumage

     to the floor.
A finch’s discarded wing,
               a single black shoe.

     Discovered, they loosed
my longing for flight,
               for landings spanning

     beyond what I knew,
a God I could grasp,
               a face to hang in my attic.

     This is the updraft of words
heard before birth in the palm
               of a broad hand,

     where I sat
listening to my life.
               This is

     the place in-between,
aerie beneath the ether,
               where I can almost reach

     the apple
at the topmost limb
               before it slips—

First appeared in Pebble Lake Review 2004; Some Other Eden chapbook (Finishing Line Press) 2005

Riding Pipeline Trail We Taste
the Scent of Bear on the Wind

it’s the kind of trail that asks
   to be followed      neither of us ready

to turn back stable-wise
   the grasses high enough     sun

not yet spent      and when you spy
   dark on the hillside

the humped shape      see it shift
   in the heat-haze      we part

our lips     the gamey taste
   of fear on our tongues      we wheel

our horses      raise the blessed
   dust down trail      not daring

a look back      returning morning
   reins in hand      we find

the black truck tire nosing earth
   spine flexed

we swear      we can feel
   the horses tensing

between our thighs     the world
   around us inhaling exhaling



Ronda Broatch is the author of Shedding Our Skins, (Finishing Line Press, 2008), and Some Other Eden, (2005). Her manuscript, A Rib of New Fruit, was a finalist for the May Swenson Poetry Book Award in 2009 and 2010. Nominated several times for the Pushcart, Ronda is the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant, and is currently poetry editor for Crab Creek Review. In her spare time, she photographs the secret lives of flowers.