Hayden Saunier is the author of three books, Tips for Domestic Travel, Say Luck, which won the 2013 Gell Poetry Prize, and Field Trip to the Underworld. Her work has been awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize, Rattle Poetry Prize, Robert Fraser Award, has been nominated several times for a Pushcart Prize and widely published.
She is also an actress whose credits include The Sixth Sense, Philadelphia Diary, Hack, House of Cards, Do No Harm, the voice of a broken-down stove for Ikea, and dozens of roles in the theatre.
Hayden Saunier lives on a farm in Pennsylvania.
Author’s website: www.haydensaunier.com
A man and a woman wander away
from the noisy light-strung square,
begin to stroll the narrow street
below my window, slowly,
aware of the uneven sea-stone
cobbles beneath their feet.
Hands catch and release.
They are in each other’s nets.
They circle, touch, retreat.
How quickly they’ve been trapped
by geography—wheeling birds,
sea, shore, salt, heat—
caught up in the ancient history
of men and women attempting
to storm the steep-walled
villages of each other’s hearts.
Wrought iron rosette
on a rooftop door that opens
to both mountains and sea,
you made a bruise on my shoulder
shaped like a child’s
valentine. I don’t mind.
Like a fairy tale spell,
I struck you three times,
as I carried, first olives,
then cheeses, then a deep rosy wine
to a friend who’s come back,
still alive, still alive.
Unexpected Ocean Journey
A blue-arched doorway curls
beneath a house beam
and sends it out to sea
pulled by a bright spinnaker
of scarlet bougainvillea
unfurling from a terracotta pot.
Grandmothers drop the wide straps
of their brassieres
grandfathers unbutton white shirts
pull them over their heads
like young men at sea’s edge
they stretch out in their bodies still bodies
still able to hear waves turn
over the beach stones with satisfied
clicks in a sun that’s still warm
in October the breezes still light
for delicious long days
no one thinks of the children
the lost or the found ones the real or imagined
but of their own fathers and mothers
the sun on the warm step
strong hands on their shoulders
small stones clicking
over and over and smaller and smoother.
All poems on this post: © Hayden Saunier
Published with the permission of Hayden Saunier