Hila Ratzabi


The spirits line up at my writing desk at 9pm
Like they’ve done every night since the hurricane.
They toss seaweed scarves round their necks,
Place hands on hips, stare at me greenly, accusing.

I’m used to this by now and too tired tonight,
So I open the office door and let the cat in.
She hisses and pounces and chases
The spirits down the stairs.

When I’m hungry I head to the kitchen,
Open the fridge and find the spirits lounging
Among the rotten turnips and radishes
I refused to eat from the CSA.

I move to the den, turn on the TV.
The spirits perch on my shoulders,
Whisper spoilers in my ear,
Press all the buttons on the remote.

They leave passive aggressive notes
All around the house:
Forgot to take out compost again
Left lights on in the living room

I climb the stairs, brush my teeth,
And find the spirits curled up
With the cat at the foot of the bed.
Their snores are an earthquake that rocks me to sleep.


Hila Ratzabi was selected by Adrienne Rich as a recipient of a National Writers Union Poetry Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the author of the chapbook The Apparatus of Visible Things (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Narrative, Alaska Quarterly Review, Drunken Boat, Linebreak, The Nervous Breakdown, and other literary journals, and in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and lives in Philadelphia where she founded the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop.