Moving this Body / Rebecca Fremo


Moving this Body

poems by

Rebecca Fremo

ISBN: 978-1-59948-765-6, 80 pages, $14 (+ shipping)

Release Date: November 19, 2019


Rebecca Fremo’s poems and essays have appeared in journals including Water~Stone Review, Paper Darts, Mud Season Review, Full Grown People, Mothers Always Write, and Compose. Her chapbook, Chasing Northern Lights, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012. A Richmond, Virginia native, she now braves the winters in St. Peter, Minnesota with her husband and three sons. Fremo directs Writing Across the Curriculum and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College.

It is rare for a first book to have such wonderful range and motion, but Becky Fremo’s Moving this Body is, in many ways, a dance, made more compelling by the unselfconscious grace of its speaker. These are generous poems, expanding in form and content as they move in physical, emotional and soulful ways, so that ultimately the dancer becomes the dance: “then my feet / arch, heels lift, / and everything / simply extends.” ~Joyce Sutphen


There is an old African-American saying when an Uncle or Auntie hasn’t seen a niece or nephew for a long time and upon seeing how much they’ve grown since the last time they’d laid eyes on them would often exclaim, “Lord, you certainly have been in your growth!” Rebecca Fremo’s poems have certainly been in their growth over these past years since her last Chapbook, Chasing Northern Lights. These agile, graceful poems dance, stride, and sashay their way into the reader’s consciousness and heart, always moving toward strange and wonderful revelations and discoveries found in the seemingly small, unimportant, daily exercises and rituals of our lives. At the core of these verses is a celebration and affirmation of that difficult yet quite natural growth of our own human bodies, minds and spirits, woven all together in a lovely, moving choreography of these very beautiful and poignant poems. ~Philip S. Bryant, Author of Stompin’ at the Grand Terrace and The Promised Land


From inherited recipes and fall motorcycle rides, through sleepless nights in search of cosmic fireworks, Fremo explores what it means to love, and to lose, each other, and the everyday moments we share in the midst. In beautiful and beguiling language, these poems in Moving this Body are funny, smart, insightful, sad, or some perfect in-between. They illuminate the things we often miss, the change that comes before we can see it. ~Baker Lawley

Miriam’s Pudding


Thick skin sealed away the sweetness.
My spoon had to make an effort
so I could eat, mamashayna, eat.
Rubber bands and wax paper choked
the tiny crocks that lined her New Jersey
refrigerator, guarding them
from prying little fingers.

When I make pudding now at home,
it seems to lack that Polish immigrant fortitude.
Mine just rolls over in mushy acquiescence,
accepting any spoon, penetrable.
But Miriam’s pudding was cooked,
not whipped up in an instant frenzy.

Even when she faced unspeakable hunger,
she knew desire must be postponed.



An Academic Feminist Paints Her Toenails


I rest my foot on The Sex Which Is Not One
and reach for red. Toes splayed, brows furrowed,
tiny brush meets jar and penetrates.

I am the geisha girl, unfettered for the night.
A twelve-year old on the beach,
all anklets, toe rings, and heart tattoos.

Maybe soon I’ll bake pie,
bring him beers after work.
I like it when he pays for dinner.



To My Mother on Rosh Hashanah


I remember little more
than the apples and honey
and the way my too-tight
knit dress chafed my skin
in the September heat.

I hear the creak as we rise
from wooden benches,
soldiers called to attention
by the shofar’s Reveille.

Above the choir loft organ pipes
shine, the gates of heaven.

Sunlight shoots through
a Tiffany window.

That next week, I never
really thought about repenting.

Still, on Yom Kippur eve
when the Kol Nidrei wailed,
it seemed a kind of ritual to me,
if not a sacred rite.

Please, I say, just let it be what it was.

Do not dwell on what it is to me today.

The Kol Nidrei pronounces all
our promises already broken,
sins like mine are mere imperfections.

Could this take the ache of disappointment away?

What matters is that we’ve survived, lived long enough
to be inscribed once again in the book of life.

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