Ants file up the Banyan tree as the pool boy
hands me a soft, white towel. Down on the ocean
striped flags flutter from yachts. Women in gold
jewelry, black bathing suits, glint like waves,
white-capped, brilliant. Under the cabana, I work
my puzzles, write a few lines, remember when
you were here, too, snoring under the umbrella,
your canvas shoes loafing poolside. A waitress
in pink flip-flops asks if I’d like anything
to drink. Her ponytail bobs like hope,
up and down, up and down. I order
seltzer with lime, apply more sunscreen,
lie a while longer on the canvas lounge,
almost reach for the phone to call you.
After He Leaves
Right about now, eight months later,
I imagine my ex- at his kitchen table,
listening to the radio in his underwear and socks.
His shoulders stoop slightly, his frame
weathered but not bent. He rests his chin
in the palm of his hand, nodding now and then.
A song comes on and he thinks he’d like to dance,
to take a turn around the living room, down the hall,
only there’s no true love to put his arms around,
no one with whom he might lift a glass,
digest the news or who could cause his heart
to quicken in that massive chest.
Right about now, I imagine him doodling
or filling in the spaces of a crossword puzzle,
filling in the gaps with a woman here and there
who will delight him for about as long as it takes
to change the sheets which he will launder
and hang to dry, flapping from a stretched line
while here at home I whip up lemon tarts,
rosemary roasted potatoes, chicken and
raspberry jam, coffee from Arabica beans
ground in the Cuisinart he bought last November.
Its gears and blades growl in sharp precision,
the grind spilling into a plastic cup I wash
while listening to the radio without static,
a clear signal to dance to on a starlit night
and I will nestle in fresh sheets, mid-bed, content.
© Pia Taavila-Borsheim
Pia Taavila-Borsheim grew up in Walled Lake, Michigan, and lives now in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She received a BA and an MA in American Literature from Eastern Michigan University (1977, 1979) and an interdisciplinary PhD (1985) from Michigan State University in English, Sociology, and Philosophy. She teaches literature and creative writing at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Gallaudet University Press published her collected poems, Moon on the Meadow (1977-2007); Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, Two Winters (2011). Her poems have appeared in many journals, including The Bear River Review, Appalachian Heritage, The Comstock Review, Threepenny Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, storySouth, The Asheville Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Measure, Ibbetson Street Review, and The Southern Review. She is a frequent participant at the Bear River, Sewanee and Key West Literary conferences.