Aunt Fire: A Poem By Max Ritvo

Unpublished Work by the Late Poet

February 16, 2017  By Max Ritvo

Aunt Fire


Mommy and I are burning,
nobody knows what its like for us:


for all of you the world
is like an egg,
for us it is like an inside out egg.


Your anger or grief resolves into a shell
around the shifting, ill-fitting yolk of the love in your soul.
For mommy and me, there is a hard-cored fire
pluming with a toxic yolk
that we insist you eat.
Eat it, it is our love, we say. It is our love, we say, eat it.
To turn down the yolk is to turn down the shell that produced it.
Swallow our shells.


Max Ritvo
Max Ritvo
Max Ritvo (1990-2016) was the author of the poetry collection Four Reincarnations (Milkweed Editions, 2016) and the chapbook, AEONS, for which he was awarded a 2014 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. He earned his BA from Yale University and his MFA from Columbia University. Ritvo's poetry has also appeared in Poetry, the New Yorker, and on His eight poems that appeared in Boston Review, introduced by Lucie Brock-Broido, were named as one of their top 20 poetry selections published in 2015. His prose and interviews have appeared in Huffington Post, Divedapper, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His radio appearances include NPR’s Only Human, the New Yorker Radio Hour, and The Dr. Drew Podcast. Ritvo was a poetry editor at Parnassus: Poetry in Review and a teaching fellow at Columbia University. He lived in Manhattan until his death in August 2016.

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