Digging to the Roots 2016 Ina Roy Faderman

Ina Roy-Faderman is the winner of the 2016 Digging to the Roots Color Poetry Contest. Congratulations Ina!

Ina Roy-Faderman’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Right Hand Pointing, Clade Song, the Tupelo 30/30 Project and elsewhere; California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia named her “Elegy for Water” the winning poem of the Richmond Anthology of Poetry. A good mid-western girl of Bengali heritage, she received her creative writing training while completing an M.D.-Ph.D. (Stanford-UC Berkeley). Currently, she teaches bioethics for Oregon State University, is a fiction editor for Rivet Journal, and works as a librarian at a school for gifted children.


Spring Advection (photo 1)



the sky transports you

the last of wanderers

inject blue into the veins —

that’s where you live —

oxygen turns the sky to cold

and moves like a glacier but you don’t

wear gloves because

sometimes you want to see

the purity of blue

before the last of

the sunfall, before the

last minutes of

this earth of today —

bluer than the oceans,

brighter than all the stars,

even those we cannot see



Painted Turtles (photo 7)



black tiny 


turtles ebb

from the land;

their shells like uncut opals

catch the light —

no fixed tune

to be played night after night —

just iambics in their unending cycle.



Pumpkins and Gourds (photo 2)



King Midas Meets Cinderella 

Everything. He wants

give her everything.

He wants to be

The Fairy Godfather,

hip and styling,

but safe, like a young, married uncle.

He will bring her gowns of spider-silk,

slippers, delicate as morning frost,

a coach that runs as fast as fire

through dry autumn woods.

But the perfect slipper goes disco bright,

the coach pales gold

rolling across the hardened earth,

and the mice run from his touch –

they know what’s what.

She debuts under the aegis of

her fairy godmother, as planned.

Midas faces the mirror,

touches each tear before

it can drop from his cheek.



Loon and Nest (photo 4)




All the colors of the dark earth

are cupped into this warm

place of feathers and hope —

bring the water,

feed the stars,

pull the planets into this hollow

of the Milky Way,

like eggs, violet with hope,

blue with longing,

embryonic and ever-lasting



Farmhouse (photo 8)


bright barn 


once white with



now depends upon



the rain is so much



to glaze accidents


red barn and

a barrow behind


so much wheeled earth


Dandelion (photo 5)




You are the face of the sun,

the teeth of a lion,

tapping the water that lives

under the ground on which

I walk.


You mark time in gold.


The bluestem,

the fleabane,

the cornflower, purple as winter sunset,

now deposed.


But the monarchs remember

the days of milkweed and clover.


Geese fly low

over the field,

feather-bellies gilded.

Maybe geese like butter, I say.


You mark the summer warmth

and the coming of the fall.


Age is moonlight white


I exhale.

Seeds drift like fog.

Each breath

marks an hour.


(You can also see photos on slideshow)