Ravitte Kentwortz

Bad Dreams

Humming in their affections, rabbits 

in the yarrow, humming in their burrows, 

thumping in the yard. In the swooning hour, 

dressed in boots & coats—moon 

and purple patches—my son and I out 

into this imagined night-herd, like zebras 

chomping on orach, their heads down, 


                                    He ran laps 

around the apple tree and I watched 

the owls—great horned triplet—cartographing 

the landscape. The boy 

said he can’t run. Mom, I can’t run, and I said, run 

and he would, and stumble in his boots, run lolling, run head down. 

                         Lolling, the owls talked triangles 

their talk flapped, swinging,

their eyes marked deficiencies in our behavior,

narrowed on peculiarities of our small range: 

those of the not-present. Those of the not-hide. 

Their telescopic sight saw crawling ants on my son’s fear

and the infestation of blindness in our minds.  

                         Staked the fringes of yarrow, owned 

the warren openings, the time under the patches, 

the yard & obstacles, the owls

when they talked they sang, pooled 

visual purple in puddles—  

turn a sight distorted into a stockade of sound.


You won’t turn off the light? Head down— 

will I be alive tomorrow? Two feathered front hooks,

the back talon snaps a swinging spine, 

will I stop breathing? Will I have bad dreams? Nothing— 

eyelids blink—  nothing— 


At first light, screech owl’s feathers on the steps, dandelions 

& onion greens before the gate, gray fur, 

the cotton bit trail & airing white 

& the owls, unseen— 

in the tumult of our senses, 

undetected—               nothing 

in the vast distraction & UV

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An immigrant to the US, Ravitte Kentwortz started writing poetry in English late in life. Her poems appeared or are forthcoming in Bennington Review, Bare Life, Interim, The Hopper, Midway Journal, and other publications. She's the winner of Fourteen Hills’ 2021 Stacy Doris Memorial award for innovative poetry. Her poems were nominated for Best of the Net Anthology and for the Pushcart prize.