Red Silk Heart
by Ruth Bavetta

Chocolates in a heart-shaped box.
She’s thirteen. What does she do
with a such a box of sweets?
Does she clutch it to her breast?
What does she do with the giver
after she says thank you?
Does she offer him a taste?
She has no map.

Red rosebuds sent to the house.
Should she wear them to the party?
The card isn’t signed, only
a drawing of a skeleton.
She is a gypsy, she wears the roses
and a mask.
No one else has roses.

Who sent them?
She tells everyone she doesn’t know.
The skeleton watches her
from across the room.
If she looks at him
she will fall off the edge
of the world.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Chocolate Box” by Bill Brennan. Prints available from

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: True story. What can this guy have been thinking? He was only 13, too. I’ll bet his mother put him up to it. I was totally embarrassed.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ruth Bavetta’s poems have been published in Rhino, Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, Spillway, Hanging Loose, Poetry East, and Poetry New Zealand, among many others, and are included in four anthologies. She has published two books, Embers on the Stairs (FutureCycle Press) and Fugitive Pigment (Moon Tide Press). A third book, No Longer at this Address (Tebot Bach) will appear soon.