Shadows by Ruth Lehrer

It’s a good thing to know who your enemies are
That’s what they say when they start worming
into all the holes of your life
tracking your diet your loves your mindset
analyzing meaning in your patterns of poop
what the wrong type of tea can do to your tooth enamel
scribing all your failures
in a chart on a spreadsheet in an app
dictating a memo to all your exes and past librarians
checking all the books you have left on your shelf
for more than six months without cracking
and taking away a donut and six Oreos
for each rhyme you left unfinished

You try to keep your nail biting a secret
but it’s typed in Helvetica on the bathroom wall
in red paint against the tiles blue.


Ruth Lehrer is a writer and sign language interpreter living in western Massachusetts. She is the author of the novel Being Fishkill, the poetry chapbook Tiger Laughs When You Push, and many other poems. You can find her website at

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