More by Donna Hilbert

More

I want more pages in my day planner
with its tidy squares and room on the side
for “to dos” to be checked off, and I want
that list to never end. I want one page
after another and another to appear
in unending supply, the way peanut
butter jars appear in the cupboard and I’m
aghast at their number, and know you’ve
been to that big box store once again,
so, it takes me forever to find the tiny
jar of saffron stuck in the back.
I want more dreams of falling
for the joyful relief at awakening
from the chasm of sleep to consult
my day planner and tick off tasks
that annoy me. I want more days
to gripe in my mind about tiny hillocks
of crumbs, you’ve left on the counter
while slicing bread from Gusto’s
on Fourth Street, bought in such quantity
and stuffed in the freezer, that I can’t find
my tiny pint of mint chip ice cream.
Then the drip drop of red wine, the drip drop
of tomato from the salad you made
for me last night—I want more of that
on the counter. I want more mornings
when your heavy breathing wakens
me from sleep, when your five-pillow chateau
threatens to topple and smother me,
and I get up with the sun and head
out for my walk when the glorious
unfolding of the day is waiting.

*

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is Threnody, from Moon Tide Press. Earlier books include Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Braided Way, Chiron Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Rattle, Zocalo Public Square, One Art, and numerous anthologies. Poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and on Lyric Life. She writes and leads private workshops in Southern California, where she makes her home, and during residencies at Write On Door County. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com

Passage at Nineteen by Donna Hilbert

Passage at Nineteen

Newborn, firstborn,
I hold you to my breast
for the slow ride home
through falling snow.

Flesh of my flesh,
I am reborn, dancing
in terror and joy
balanced on the eyelash
of a blinking god.

*

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is Threnody, from Moon Tide Press. Earlier books include Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Braided Way, Chiron Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Rattle, Zocalo Public Square, One Art, and numerous anthologies. Poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and on Lyric Life. She writes and leads private workshops in Southern California, where she makes her home, and during residencies at Write On Door County. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com

Two Poems by Donna Hilbert

I Do 100 Flying Cloud Hands While the Coffee Drips

In a copper-bottomed pot, my mother perked coffee,
adding a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor.
I was a kid and I thought it was good
with lots of milk and a little sugar.

Later, she adopted Coffee Mate: You can’t tell the difference!
Then Cool Whip: Just as good as Whipped Cream!
Some new margarine: As yummy as butter, maybe better!

When I eschewed meat, she declared I couldn’t possibly taste
the chicken broth base in the casserole, or the bacon fat
seasoning green beans. Oh, how she wished me to swallow
what gagged me, then open my mouth and drip praise.

*

Anthurium in August

Anthuriums abloom
in a bayside yard,

take me back to Christmas
in the old house,

that year we abandoned
tree and tinsel

to cheer ourselves instead

with bouquets
of crimson bracts:

golden-tongued
open mouths of joy.

*

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is Threnody, from Moon Tide Press. Earlier books include Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Braided Way, Chiron Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Rattle, Zocalo Public Square, One Art, and numerous anthologies. Poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and on Lyric Life. She writes and leads private workshops in Southern California, where she makes her home, and during residencies at Write On Door County. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com

One Poem by Donna Hilbert

Walk Before Coffee, After a Glance at the Times

I say good morning to a passerby
but hear, instead, good mourning
in my head, and I am dazed
by the ambiguity of homophones.

And, on the turntable of my brain
spins a melody I hum, but can’t abide:
Morning has broken. No. Morning
is broken. In present tense, it sings.

*

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is the just released Threnody, from Moon Tide Press. Earlier books include Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Braided Way, Chiron Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Rattle, Zocalo Public Square, One Art, and numerous anthologies. Poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and on Lyric Life. She writes and leads private workshops in Southern California, where she makes her home, and during residencies at Write On Door County. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com

The Kreutzer Sonata by Donna Hilbert

The Kreutzer Sonata

The Kreutzer Sonata
is perfect for cooking:
about forty minutes
adagio through presto.
The insistent opening ideal
for mincing garlic and onion.
Forty minutes for risotto
from impulse to finish.
Forty minutes at 425 to oven-roast
potatoes and fish in a caste-iron skillet
(after 20 minutes, slip fish into the pan
with potatoes, and make a green salad).
Forty minutes to start
a good soup on the stove.
Put the soup on to simmer,
and begin the sonata again.

*

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is Threnody, from Moon Tide Press. Earlier books include Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Braided Way, Chiron Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Rattle, Zocalo Public Square, One Art, and numerous anthologies. Poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and on Lyric Life. She writes and leads private workshops in Southern California, where she makes her home, and during residencies at Write On Door County. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com

Iron Skillet by Donna Hilbert

Iron Skillet

I’m cleaning you now
with coarse salt and a paper towel.
Skillet of my mother, grandmother,
and her mother before her.
You’ve fried chickens
raised, killed, plucked, dressed
on farms, in backyards
by generations of women whose children
watched in fascination and fear.
You’ve fried bacon, eggs over easy,
baked cornbread, baked biscuits, grilled
sandwiches, fried fold-over pies for
farmers, mechanics, civil servants, teachers.

Last night, I blackened a sea bass
on your flat belly where tonight,
potatoes and carrots will nestle and roast
while an omelet browns on top of the stove.
Skillet, trusty instrument of nurture,
I praise your amazing utility, plurality
of purpose, example of endurance.
How easily you fashion meal after meal,
serve us, feed us, re-season, restore.

*

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is the just released Threnody, from Moon Tide Press. Earlier books include Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Braided Way, Chiron Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Rattle, Zocalo Public Square, One Art, and numerous anthologies. Poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and on Lyric Life. She writes and leads private workshops in Southern California, where she makes her home, and during residencies at Write On Door County. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com

Two Poems by Donna Hilbert

Spiritus

I waken to the sound of breathing
so loud I think it’s you beside me.
But no, love, it’s me. My breath, alone.

*

Ribollita

I praise the way you save
stale bread left on the shelf too long,
rinds of Parmesan tough to grate,
old greens not crisp enough
for salad, but fine for soup
re-boiled from what’s on hand.
I love the way you salvage
bruised tomato, sprouting onion,
imperfect squash, laying no morsel
to mold, nothing to waste,
filling each space with aroma
of soup, saying supper, manga!
come eat, come safely, come home.

*

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is the just released Threnody, from Moon Tide Press. Earlier books include Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Braided Way, Chiron Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Rattle, Zocalo Public Square, One Art, and numerous anthologies. Poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and on Lyric Life. She writes and leads private workshops in Southern California, where she makes her home, and during residencies at Write On Door County. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com

Enormous Blue Umbrella by Donna Hilbert

Enormous Blue Umbrella

Enormous, blue, and sad, this umbrella
we walk beneath. It’s winter still,
but who could tell with sky so poignant
blue it stings the eye, and merely a tinge
of cold informs the air. Passersby don’t
seem to notice the mountain’s sharp
outline beyond bayside homes.
And across the boulevard, across the sand,
beyond the stranded ships, Catalina shines
like tin foil. It’s the walkers I wonder about:
sad faces, our caps pulled down, moving fast,
no place special to go, so fierce to get there.

*

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is the just released Threnody, from Moon Tide Press. Earlier books include Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Braided Way, Chiron Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Rattle, Zocalo Public Square, One Art, and numerous anthologies. Poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and on Lyric Life. She writes and leads private workshops in Southern California, where she makes her home, and during residencies at Write On Door County. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com

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Two Poems by Donna Hilbert

On my Sunday Morning Walk, I Think of Wallace Stevens

Palm tree frond and heron wing are one,
or so it seems to me from where I stand.
Palm tree temple, heron priest,
and I, a congregant, alone.

*

Mallards Fly In

Soon they will nest.
Later, hatchlings will be stranded
trying to cross the street.
Not everything is solved by walking.

*

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. Her new collection, Threnody, is forthcoming from Moon Tide Press. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Braided Way, Chiron Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Rattle, Zocalo Public Square, One Art, and numerous anthologies. She writes and leads private workshops in Southern California, where she makes her home. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com