Ruth Awad

The one where I beg

I’m watching my country admire its teeth. You said there is no god and I looked up.
The scar on your arm is its own sad music, pink ribbon, the kind of song that makes us
want to fuck strangers. There will be no god when this is over. What gave me the audacity
to touch you? The moon doesn’t care. She shows us our teeth every night. She is so chill
about the way we fuck up her space. Tell god to come get me. From a high enough vantage
point, anything looks like begging. Tell that to the dogs! How they will howl all night long.
They think we must be benevolent beasts, too – all the ways we can hurt each other
but don’t. I say let’s call this touching a truce. Will we still beg when this is over?
When I don’t have any teeth left. When you have the bite marks to prove it.
When we pass this quiet between us, hounds for a world on fire.

Ruth Awad is a Lebanese-American poet whose debut poetry collection Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press 2017) won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. She is the recipient of a 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and her work has appeared in The New Republic, The Rumpus, The Missouri Review Poem of the Week, Sixth Finch, Crab Orchard Review, CALYX, Diode, Southern Indiana Review, The Adroit Journal, Vinyl Poetry, Epiphany, BOAAT Journal, and in the anthologies Bettering American Poetry Volume 2 (Bettering Books, 2017), The Hundred Years' War: Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), New Poetry from the Midwest 2014 (New American Press, 2015), and Poets on Growth (Math Paper Press, 2015). She won the 2012 and 2013 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest, and she was a finalist for the 2013 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, she is a copy editor for Button Poetry, and she lives in Columbus, Ohio with her two Pomeranians.