Elisavietta Ritchie's fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, photojournalism, and translations from Russian, French, Malay and Indonesian have appeared in numerous publications including Poetry, American Scholar, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, National Geographic, New York Quarterly, JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, Confrontation, Press, New Letters, Kalliope, Nimrod, Canadian Woman Studies, Ann Arbor Review, Loch Raven Review, Innisfree, Broadkill Review, Beltway Poetry, ArLiJo, Calyx, and many others.
Anonymous: Girl With Grapes
I washed them by hand
in a tub of galvanized iron,
while a young man, his name
I’ve forgotten, directed
a green garden hose.
Something sexual here? I
cannot remember if that was
the case at age fifteen or so.
The day hot when Anonymous
painted this lyrical portrait—did
he aim the hose to cool or to tease me?
Men did. Already damp, curls
slipped from the carmine scarf
tied around my black hair
considered magnetic then.
I study the old picture, inhale
the fragrance of fruit freshly picked,
the wine from a previous vintage,
and the young man with a hose,
recall the delights and dangers
of sluicing those gleaming blue
grappes, and, though not painted,
the gold-striped hornets still
swarming and landing and stinging—