Ruth Lehrer


The dentist strung wires
and rubber bands and told me
if I was patient I could be
solved. Years of my life
given to the goal of being

The eye doctor
measured and re-measured
and told me I was broken
but could be fixed
with plastic and string
and with refraction
of light I would see

My parents they wanted
me and my strange loves
to be fixed and solved
and reglued and they sent
me off to be broken
again and again

But my eyes my heart
even my teeth
They were unfixable

And they were definitely
not straight.


I saw the blueberries first

and then the bluejay

and then, the crowd of starlings

And the starlings said,

We are not a crowd we are a host

we are not a host we are a party

They were in the lowbush blue

They were in the heather but

I couldn’t hear well

I couldn’t sing back

since I was on the one side

and they were on the other

They knew that too

since they said it again and again

We are a host we are a party

and you

You are alone. 

Ruth Lehrer is a writer and sign language interpreter living in the western Massachusetts. She is the author of the poetry chapbook TIGER LAUGHS WHEN YOU PUSH, available from Headmistress Press. Her debut novel, BEING FISHKILL (Candlewick Press) is described by Entertainment Weekly as, “...the year’s most heartwarming, heartbreaking teen novel.”