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the medicine and how it goes down

by Corey Ruzicano

my mother’s pigs take a flintstone vitamin every morning with breakfast

that’s more than i do


i think of the days nursemaids poured out cod liver oil

each morning

for their charges

a spoonful every day

and you’ll be strong as a viking 

swallowing down seeds of hardness



growing men of boys

with cod liver oil

and muscle

and grit


when did the story start

that boys must be boys

must be boys

must be brutes

must be hard

must be set strong like a viking


who wrote the first words

who tread the first path

and who followed

whose footsteps wore the path so deep

no one can imagine an alternative


the way I have grown

so used to the Manhattan sidewalk

I forget we are an island

we are

a small thumb of land

surrounded by sea


I think of the boys I have loved

too soft for this world

too soft to survive without growing armor


I look up and see


white and full breasted

in the blue sky above Canal Street


we are an island

we are a ship at sea

we are headed somewhere 

we must imagine a new map

and then we must steer

About the Author

corey ruzicano is a producer/writer/educator from the san francisco bay area. while pursuing her bfa at emerson college she went through the creative producing program under p. carl and david dower, and continues to write for howlwound. she has completed apprenticeships at the lark, the orchard project and the 52nd street project. she has been the creative projects manager of jeanine tesori's studio, siena music and a broaderway, where she also teaches writing and leadership to young women. she has managed the intern program at second stage theater and fellowships and awards for new dramatists and aids in making space for writers of all kinds and created community engagement programs for rattlestick playwrights theater. she is the executive producer of words on white, an art and conversation initiative. with all her work, she seeks to empower voices and stories that encourage more empathic communities and a better understanding of one another.

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