Poetry by Rosebud Ben-Oni

Image by Whitney Meredith

We Move in Orbits So Distant from Each Other

So we’ve fallen asleep at the helm of our satellites
and our spaceships
which wish themselves
Who’s to say
they too do not feel

that final surrender,
on an atoll?

We are so close to something
that never did.

I’ve lost sight of star, comet, plane.
In deep space

there is no coral ring
regenerating our dreams.

This world we want to leave is not a cautious thing.

This world
so we say
when we were never its transmissions
but its limits.

How I’ve tried otherwise.

How I’ve separated into three thieves
when brought up to a tower,
when all someone could do was bring me up

to a tower,
a crumbled-footed
third story walk-up,

and try to take wing

while that body bled
and calcified,
one more crack in the ceiling.

Is this why we wish for new planets?

I’ve gotten ahold of something here that cannot be found.
I mean the very first song, which was never written,

which came from a bird

who never knew she was singing

or that she was at all
a sense of terrible awe
we’d put together wrong
in cold-blooded scaly skin.

She never sang as if her world would end,
the world,
this world,
this restless, rancorous waiting of the world.

She is all that did not
leave itself

There will come a time you won’t be able to reach me.

There is only distance, and only distance will never die.

Only dark energy grows and grows

drifting everything further


I have to say yes.
I’m saying yes,
as any world can be
a single space.

Come to me
when I awaken
a flit of her wing,
where it all begins
that stellar,

all those stellar, rapturous angles of her colossal love.



When My Phone Doesn’t Ring It’s Everything

in this world I cannot save
its freshly scooped ice cream
and mayflies and heartbeats,
and the sweetest fruits
sun-dried on a tin roof in august when there’s not a single breeze
and I’m falling asleep in a car parked in direct heat.
Waking the wrong hours is any place


and maybe it’s you
amid all this concrete
and all the deserts and all the seas
where pins have erroneously

dropped me

and there’s no motherboard or meteor storm,
nor the weather of your world could I save,
there’s simply no perfectly nice day,
so the scientists say
no one is sending us messages and no one
is taking calls, although maybe

when my phone doesn’t ring

it’s you
just as uncertain too
what turn this has taken.
Maybe someone is telling you
there’s no such thing, no such ridiculous thing,

as the tears you only leave
cut off and voicemail-full,
as going stir-crazy
waiting for text bubbles that disappear
without word,
as waiting
as waiting for me
to pass through Grand Central
a little after seven in the evening,
a little thing like me dodging
Long Island commuters
linebacking to their trains, there’s no such thing
headed to Poughkeepsie, Long Beach, White Plains.
Surely, in what world, would an 8:07 lead
to a cold, rocky seashore evening
when I disappear into breakers so openly,
and even then, even if one hundred percent
it’s you
and your alien
breath filling my lungs
what would linger the longest, surely
not no such thing, each the other
it’s you::
::it’s you
a test,
the many things within
wanting to be saved.

Maybe it’s waking on the rocks
in the middle of a storm,
and all the shelter in the world
cannot save us,

when in all misery

it’s you

we go on missing
in the middle of the day
when crossing the middle of a street
when it’s again warm enough to say it’s all for you

that we carry on around the way we do
like we have all of two days
and only two days to leave
this world
when it’s you
it’s sharing time
and a leap of faith
that it is you:: it was always



Rosebud Ben-Oni is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a CantoMundo Fellow. She is the author of SOLECISM (Virtual Artists Collective, 2013), and an Editorial Advisor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She writes weekly for The Kenyon Review blog.