by Sonya Taaffe


            A ferry curls back the harbor as the train

            angles away, streetside and waterfront,


            platform and cold decks deserted alike

            in the parchment haze of latest fall.


            Past the windows, the only witnesses

            recede into landscape: a curb-parked


            police car, half a dozen shirtsleeved boys

            straddling bicycles in the pale sunset,


            a halt of Canada geese in a still-green field,

            one sentinel and ten pilgrims for the south.


            The salt marshes reflect the same stolen blue,

            skimmed peachily as the horizon; each cove


            in its tide-blackened backing of stones holds

            the sea breathing endlessly onto the sand.


            Unharvested, the cordgrass rolls in swells

            of tundra and tiger stripes, mirror-eyed,


            broken to islands: each river’s mouth

            craned with industry, cat’s-cradled to rust


            and stand through freeze and flooding tides;

            the bridges anchor their shadows in the sea.


            The eastern moon hangs higher than the sun.

            The roads thicken homeward, clotting


            asphalt to highways and high-voltage wires

            and pigeons flutter up rather than gulls


            as the train pulls in: the last of the sun fires

            the skyline’s windows like the tips of waves.




About the Author:

Sonya Taaffe has a confirmed addiction to myth, folklore, and dead languages. Her poem “Matlacihuatl’s Gift” shared first place for the 2003 Rhysling Award, and poems and short stories of hers have been been nominated for the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, the Pushcart Prize, and the Locus Award, shortlisted for the SLF Fountain Award, and reprinted and honorably mentioned in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. A respectable amount of her short fiction and poetry can be found in Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books). She holds master's degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale.




Poem © 2009 Sonya Taaffe.