Moonlight creeps through linden leaves,
casts long shadows on sidewalk slab.
The last train’s passengers hurry by
(newspapers tucked under their arms),
chatting of wine and weekend plans.
Once their goodbyes dissipate,
a silence settles in, sweet and lonely.
Under a café table, a cat cleans herself,
stretching and licking, certain of the dark,
of its intimate protections.
I sit on a wrought iron bench to mull over
the day’s events, nursing a drink
and the closed buds of tulips,
the bits of paper littering the grass.
Soon enough I’ll climb the steps
to my rented room, turn the iron key
in the great brass lock. For now, I coax
a pigeon to coo, to sing to me, tonight.
Once, along the earth’s wide curve, I set
my trajectory and wandered, parallel
to its axial spine, molten as its core.
Now, a globe in my study spins.
Pastel nations blur to a single continent,
mottled by seas whose brine tastes of tears.
I brush my palms against the world
and hope its lines of latitude, magnetic north,
will show me next the way to you.
I pinpoint your bed, six time zones hence,
with a plotter’s precision. You rise from sleep
to take my call. “Hello,” I say. “Who’s this?” you ask.
He walks among clematis wood,
brushes against tall grasses, fingering
daylilies, Echinacea, all rising
up to greet him as he passes.
As he waters blue hydrangeas, I peek
through the window, shy as morning glories,
waiting to bloom like moonflowers coming out
at night to entwine his pergola frame.
He picks cucumbers, cherry tomatoes,
cradling them in his hands as if they will break
at any moment, spilling seed across the floor;
he brings them into the house like diamonds.
We will can them in the water baths,
eat them in winter, glad of color and pulp,
pucker at the dill and the sharp taste of garlic.
It will linger on our hands after dark.
PIA TAAVILA-BORSHEIM grew up in Walled Lake, Michigan, and lives now in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She received her BA and MA in American Literature from Eastern Michigan University (1977, 1979) and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. (1985) from Michigan State University in English, Sociology, and Philosophy. She teaches literature and creative writing at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. In 2008, Gallaudet University Press published her collected poems, Moon on the Meadow: Collected Poems 1977-2007; Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, Two Winters in 2011. Her poems have appeared in several journals including: The Bear River Review, The Broadkill Review, Appalachian Heritage, The Comstock Review, Barrow Street, 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 writing conferences.