Naomi, In Ruth’s House

The boy holds out his hand to me
and says “give me what you have.”
Where have I heard that before?
Except the Lord didn’t ask,
and I never uncurled my hands.
Three river stones tumble into his palms—
what we took from the stream that morning,
from the running over that made them
desirable. He grins, pockets them.
The Lord’s concluding vengeance: a child
necessary to me as bread, in this city
of bread that once left me starving.
I’ve grown idle here, living
in my daughter-in-law’s house.
Grandmother-spider, Grandmother-ghost.
Capable, sufficient as I made her,
she feigns careless, drops moments
of need for me to pick up like harvest
grain slipped from the bag. I follow
close, praise, and gather what I can.

Renee Emerson is the author of Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing 2014). Her poetry has been published in 32 Poems, Indiana Review, Literary Mama, and storySouth. She lives in Georgia with her husband and daughters.