by David Ruekberg


ONCE, BEFORE THERE was counting—
but there was always counting

if not the divide of six days
and a Sabbath, then the idle

and desperate annular scrawling
on cave walls that became

religion and agriculture
all at once

That slow kind of cutting—
not this division of the living room

into rectangles and rounds
and the day labor to pay for it all

Once, we listened to a running below rocks
instead of the dishwasher—  

its constant hum reminding us
not so much of nothing

as of ticking and the urge
we still have not yet named

David Ruekberg

DAVID RUEKBERG lives and teaches near Rochester, NY. In addition to reading and writing, he enjoys gardening, hiking, cooking, and artsy films. He received his MFA from Warren Wilson College, and was awarded a residency at Jentel Arts. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Mudfish, North American Review, Sugar House, Yankee, and elsewhere. Read about his debut collection, Where Is the River Called Pishon? from Kelsay Books, at

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