Ellen Foos

Ellen Foos is a senior production editor for Princeton University Press. She is the founder and publisher of Ragged Sky Press and was the recipient of a fellowship to the MacDowell Colony and the Vermont Studio Center. Her first collection of poems, Little Knitted Sister, was published in 2006 and her poetry has appeared in U.S.1 Worksheets, Corridors Magazine, Edison Literary Review,/i>, and Contemporary American Voices, Edison Literary Review, and The Curator. A chapbook of poetry, The Remaining Ingredients, won honorable mention in the 2015 Rachel Wetzsteon Chapbook Contest.


Rose-breasted grosbeak, feeder visitor,
it’s mother’s day and I’m marrying and adopting
in one giant late-middle-age swoop.
Can your male spring plumage top that?
Yours is a rare beauty, rarely encountered
by guests who assemble on the porch.
Mine is a concocted, complicated adornment,
catching others in social contracts
they might have sidestepped indefinitely.
And your sudden appearance makes me
enormously happy because I know
we have attracted you from the woods
without intending to entrap.

A Friend Embraces Butoh

Distant, ashy, close to the edge,

I might lose you in the pauses.

Faded by the spotlight,

disguised in white paint.

Misshapen, lost to certainty,

you focus on the expanse

between touch and revulsion.

Illusion of stop-motion movements

the absence of catching breath,

a long drawn out suffering,

denial of the body’s quickness.

Minor redemption in beauty,

sly and maneuverable.



photo by: Eduardo Sciammarella