Pia Borsheim: “Shopping”


In the international market, a woman is asking
for cardamom pods, chilies, those lovely yellow
mustard seeds. In her buggy are chicken thighs,
chard, lemons the size of my fist. Her toddler’s

legs dangle and kick as he eyes slices of pineapple
and mango, clutching a stuffed lion and a pear.
He looks at me, shyly smiling, so I offer my hand.
His dimpled fingers, their pale white nails,

rest in my palm, sticky and sweet. While I coo
and praise him, his eyelashes, thick and black,
sweep and close. His mother laughs. She tells me
he is a charmer to whom all the ladies are drawn.

In that moment, I think of another market,
a bookstore, where I saw you at the podium.
After your reading, a clutch of women asked
for your autograph, pressed against you as if

so doing staked a claim. I sat still in the back row,
took in your words of seduction, your poems
full of invitation, your voice a mahogany saxophone.
I was swept away, yearning for you in my woolen wrap,

my bag of fruit slumped on the chair beside me.
Above the many heads vying, you looked across the rows
to find me waiting. Your gaze was lovely, grey with
dark blue flecks, questioning. Yes, I nodded. Yes.

Pia Borsheim has been published in Adirondack ReviewSouthern Humanities Review32 PoemsTar River PoetrystorySouthSouthern Review, Duende, Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry, Birmingham Poetry Review, Barrow Street, The Broadkill Review, and Ibbetson Street, among others. Her poems have also been included in anthologies. Moon on the Meadow: Collected Poems 1977-2007 was published by Gallaudet University Press in 2008, while a chapbook, Two Winters, was released by Finishing Line Press in 2011. New chapbooks include Mother Mail released by Hermeneutic Chaos Press and Love Poems from Cherry Grove Press. Borsheim teaches in the English Department at Gallaudet University.

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