“Ruth 1:17-18”
by Tianyu Yi

2023 Poetry of the Sacred Contest Honorable Mention

Where you die I will die
and there I will be buried.
May the Lord deal with me,
be it ever so severely, if even death
separates you and me.

I am going to haunt you.
In the next life,
you will feel the wind of
me coiled just like this
around your ankle, loving you.
Where do women like us go
in this life? Is there room for me
in your exile?
Late, you weep
so I will hear. Our dead men gathering
us together like sheaves of wheat.
You song, you field
of want, womb your sorrow
in me. Name the god you lack
and I will seed him for you.
Let me remember
more of you. Please.
Nothing remains of us
but one another.
Widow the world to come
with me.

When Naomi saw that Ruth had made up her mind to go with her,
she stopped urging her to go back.

You are a portrait of a place
nobody is anymore.

How do I look at you and live?
Somewhere in morning’s hidden corner,

they beg for souls. Our dead boys
bitter, barren in me like spoiled olives.

You cleave to me like they did, you
who plead for a God as kind as you.

My Ruth. What are widows but loess?
Who would hold
you but me?