Two New Poems are “Live” at Duende

http://www.duendeliterary.org/pia-taavilaborsheim

Click on the link above to read “Sanding the Hull” and “From Car to Schwinn and Back Again.” Enjoy!

 

Mother Mail (Chapbook)

This new chapbook of 29 poems is forthcoming in early 2017 from Hermeneutic Chaos Press. I hope to have it in time for the AWP conference in Washington, DC in February. Hope to see you there and to sign it for you!

Poetry Reading: International Poetry Festival at Bridgewater College

I am happy to share that I will be giving a poetry reading and signing my books at the Bridgewater College International Poetry Festival in Bridgewater, Virginia on January 12 – 15, 2017. I’ll post the schedule for individual events as soon as I have it. Stop by my table and say hello!

“Estrangement” forthcoming in Backbone Mountain Review.

I’m honored to announce that my poem “Estrangement” will be forthcoming in early 2017 in the next issue of Backbone Mountain Review. A group reading, release party and reception will be held at the Allegany Arts Council in Cumberland, MD in the spring (date and time TBA).

To My Estranged Offspring (“live” at The Mondegreen, Issue No. 6))

To My Estranged Offspring

Alas, dear loved ones, the door has closed.

Much time has passed, fraught with your silences,

devoid of all contact. Do you ever think of me?

 

I know nothing of your relationships, marriages,

and your children do not play at my feet. My lap

and arms long to hold their wriggling genetics.

 

Was my crime so grim? Is the chain forever snapped?

Will forgiveness never come? The years took their toll

and now I find that shuffling along, head bent,

 

no longer suits my future plans, which include red shoes

and dancing. I will love the orb of my earthly existence,

will hold near to heart all that delights, will clasp to my breast

 

my lover’s hands, whose tender touch rights what’s wrong.

In his embrace, all wounds are sealed. I breathe deep

the pungent smells of sex, grow luminous, shine

 

as I spin in sleep, while dreaming of my children,

far from me, lost, their faces neither lit nor spectral.

The door is closed, not locked. Step through, step through.

 

While Weeding (Inertia Magazine)

A dandelion’s fluff scatters, its seed bolls lifted in wind,

their destinations unknown and rocky, most like.

 

My neighbor calls again, her words repetitive, aimless

sleepwalker talk, heedless of their rambling ways.

 

Shall I call a doctor or her son? Who knows which way

our failing bodies will plunge: the long trajectory

 

or an imminent demise? I wonder how my frame will

fare, what meanderings my mind will undergo.

 

Will I linger, or will I derail at a sudden stop,

a stalk of grass beneath the mower’s blade?

 

I watch one puff pod float along, its cloud aloft,

its last ascent, drifting before the fall, its pointed

 

aril poised to rake the soil. I wish it safe landing,

that its roots grow deep, its jagged leaves tenacious.

“Union Square” from The 30th Anniversary Issue of The Northern Virginia Review

Union Square

 

Cars in lamplight hug

dark curbs: wet asphalt, strewn leaves.

Couples hurry by.

 

Rays from high windows

cast shadows through mottled trees.

I walk the long stretch

 

of arching branches,

alone in my need to name

the night air, alone.

“Prospectus” from Alliterati

Prospectus

 

If we should touch beneath the table,

flushing up surprised, rare birds

lifting, stealthy, under skin,

in what barbed moment might we meet?

 

If I should take your offered hand,

lined and brown, slow to touch,

to thresh and hone my cheek’s parched heat,

what chance might soar in these bright days?

 

If you should leave before the birds

have plundered all from craggy banks,

before the rushing creeks recede,

what dark, soft rain could wash me clean?

Sanding the Hull (from Duende)

Sanding the Hull

 

When we were sanding the sailboat’s weathered hull,

layer upon layer of life and its subjects up for grab,

we talked of raising the sails on Silver Lake or Half Moon,

of strawberries lifting beneath shade plants in the yard,

and of slant-six engines, push-button controls, the Rambler.

 

Who knew that, in ten years’ time, he’d be dead, the brown spots

on his lungs inching wider, those years of smoking cigarillos

in bodegas, when the need to drink and dance prevailed.

I crocheted a gold blanket to stave off bony chills,

each stitch laced with twists of whispered prayers.

 

When he was gone, they cleared his office; his widow,

his secretary hunched over piles of letters he’d hidden, locked

in the bottom drawer, its key hung on the hook near the door—

letters filled with more conversation: the poems of Neruda,

an article or book review, a recipe, math, or jokes,

 

our wide-ranging minds never settled or calm. His words

stream through to me now, les bon mots, or sage advice,

a caution, hint or path to shun. Directions to the market,

how to build a pergola, praise for my latest poems, more praise.

There’s never a warning, just his voice in my ear, slight bell

 

on a wisp as I breeze along. In my laughter now, I hear him. I see

his wry grin, that nose, that graying beard. I hoist my glass to shadow

reminders, to green-gray waves that lap against the bow of memory.

Those eyes softly pierced as crows’ feet and fret lines creased the planes

of his cheeks. His face reminds me to throw back my head and howl.

Two Poems from IthacaLit

Refugees

I brought in the stray. He’d been mewling
on my front stoop, shivering in the rain.

Then one more and another, until my entire
life was a collection of lost souls, an assortment

of the weary, the lonely, the hungry for food.
You might say I was a female St. Francis,

extending my hands in a Christ-like pose,
the very vines of Buddha climbing my frame.

You might say it is I who was the wandering
Jew, a victim of my own desires. And yet,

there was purpose and gain, such
as we mortals measure them.

I laughed, didn’t I? I danced in the kitchen,
even as the shift change brought in

another drifter. Even as you roll your eyes,
I loved them all, every last one.

Promises

His words hung like fruit
dangling from persimmon trees,
bruised and out of reach.

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