Years Ago, in Morocco by Heidi Seaborn

Years Ago, in Morocco
           ~for my daughter

We’ll always have Casablanca I thought on the train from Marrakech
even as my girl became a pocket turned out—emptying

the trinkets from the bazaar, the snake charmer in the plaza,
with the couscous and zaalouk—her fever blazing.

So that we missed the Argan trees—the feast of goats
in their branches. The surprise of hoof and horn amongst leaves.

We’re tree climbers, my burning girl and me.
The desire to disappear up into apple or avocado —

to see distance, seek the danger of gravity and air.
How often I look for myself in my daughter—

tangle of hair and lit green eyes—
as she struggles to climb higher, the limbs thinning, beyond me.

Only the goat can clamber up into the thorny Argan,
its branches barely bending as a dozen goats perch in each tree.

When a daughter cleaves from her mother, the roots remain—
like the Argan roots sleeping deep beneath Moroccan heat.

I wait years in the tree’s minimal shade
for my daughter to shimmy back down.

Standing eye to eye, I wonder if I know her, this remarkable goat.
As if we had both burned in the flame of her fever

in that hotel bed we shared in Casablanca, to return
years later blooming anew like an orchard after fire.


Heidi Seaborn is Executive Editor of The Adroit Journal and winner of the 2022 The Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors Prize in Poetry. She is the author of three award-winning books/chapbooks of poetry: An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe, Give a Girl Chaos, and Bite Marks. Recent work in Blackbird, Brevity, Copper Nickel, diode, Financial Times of London, Penn Review, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, Rattle, The Slowdown and elsewhere. Heidi holds an MFA from NYU.

Four Poems by Heidi Seaborn

        ~after Kim Addonzio

I want a backless
black dress that arrows
to my narrow waist
nesting like a sparrow
above legs that long
for patent leather pumps.
I want good bones
beneath cheeks that blush
at praise or the slight
inhale of desire.
I want fireworks to burst
into chrysanthemums
and lilies every night.
I want lilies to arrive
from a secret admirer.
I want to hold so many
secrets. Secrets stuffed
into closets, spilling
out of my drawers—
my bare truth. Isn’t
that how you see me now—
undressed, wanting, wanton?
And what if I tell you
my closet’s a cocktail of black
dresses and heels high
enough to scrape the sky,
that this poem is nothing—
a cry for attention
like subliminal advertising
or the color red?
But it’s too late, I’m already
naked in your head.
A version of myself,
conjured between lines,
slithered out of her dress.
And now I’ve exposed
you too. Imagine
that I invite you in
to this poem to right
the wrong impression
or share my indiscretion.
It’s up to you, dear reader,
what will you do?


Like Wolves
          “the plural pronoun is a dangerous fiction”
                                                      ~Ellen Bryant Voight

We navigate new terrain, you and I—

beseech wind and sun for energy, anything to sustain

as we walk further than either of us ever imagined—

carrying the carcass of weather on our backs.

O love, remember when we would gnaw each other

with flamboyant hunger?

Last night, I heard the wind chime in the smoke
tree and thought of the ease of leaving.

By morning, I’d forgotten.


When Seeking Forgiveness
        ~after Ellen Bass

Bring flowers—not mums or carnations or
anything cut and bucketed at Trader Joes.

Or anything common and lacking
fragrance like a tulip or sunflower. Use your nose.

Inhale like you’re practicing yoga. Or meditation.
Deep meditation is a good precursor for sorry.

You might visit an ashram to show true penance.
There may be one in California. But best

to travel to India, study with a yogi
to truly master breath. If you become enlightened

than all the better, lucky you! After all,
you could use some small compensation

for feeling badly. At this point
in the poem, I could confess my sin.

But I won’t. Let’s just say,
it’s best I plant a garden of flowers. A butterfly

garden of asters, milkweed, and goldenrod.
And raise lavender to lure honeybees

as a bonus gift to the universe.
And fertilize the soil, water diligently,

even joyfully. Such a thing of beauty—
water holding the light as it streams.

I will tenderly pluck off aphids, but invite
the lady bugs and dragonflies. Why not

make a long summer of it, crouched
beneath the hollyhock? Before cleaning

the filth from under my fingernails,
cutting the flowers, winding stems in twine—

no, in silk ribbon—into a bouquet.
There’s a language of flowers—floriography—

that I will learn and a million
ways to say Here, I’ve brought flowers,
forgive me.


The Spider Has Her Say

Start with this premise: We are all animals.
And some animals are gods.
Consider the placement of the eyes
or how far they’ve travelled.
The condition of their hooves, paws.

In some, the wind bellows. Hunger
sparks like lightening.
How feral their weather.
Others feather the day with song.
You hear what you want to know.

A few furless animals stand
like Aspen trees in winter, eyes
fixed on a frozen earth, seeing nothing.
Soon, I will retire to my knitting.
There is much to repair.


Heidi Seaborn is author of [PANK] Poetry Prize winner An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe, the acclaimed debut Give a Girl Chaos and Comstock Chapbook Award-winning Bite Marks. Recent work in Blackbird, Beloit, Brevity, Copper Nickel, Cortland Review, diode, Financial Times of London, The Missouri Review, The Offing, The Slowdown, Washington Post and elsewhere. Heidi is Executive Editor of The Adroit Journal and holds an MFA from NYU.

Yellowing by Heidi Seaborn


The poet wrote yellow plum.
I saw harvest moon,
your globe of limoncello,
the end of our marriage
swirling in liquor the color
of a highlighter underscoring
all that had gone wrong.

I had already known yellow skies,
the pulse of caution lights.
Had driven the hairpin
curve of disappointment.

But this picking the lock
of my ribcage—my body still
milky, still swollen with words
I needed to spill. This leaving me
with the door slam of marriage—
our yawning bed, everything
banking into a snowdrift.

The baby, a bit jaundiced
I thought when the poet
wrote yellow plum.
I held her to my breast,
her lips like a moth.


Heidi Seaborn is Executive Editor of The Adroit Journal and author of PANK Poetry Prize winner An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe, the acclaimed debut Give a Girl Chaos and Comstock Chapbook Award-winning Bite Marks. Recent work in Beloit Poetry Journal, Brevity, Copper Nickel, Cortland Review, Diode, Financial Times of London, The Missouri Review, The Offing, ONE ART, The Slowdown and the Washington Post. Heidi holds an MFA from NYU and teaches at the Hugo House.

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Three Poems by Heidi Seaborn

On Turning Sixty

When I leave my husband
alone for an evening, he microwaves
the soup I make in batches for nights
like this. It could be a dress rehearsal,
you never know.
By this age everyone’s had a Guggenheim—
I applaud myself with my mother’s
hands. How old
is the cheese in the fridge bin?
I should grate some over the soup.
I should be grateful for such good genes.
Empathy is in short supply
when all around me—
the lamentations of swanning
thirty-year olds.
I’ve caught myself in so many lies.
Weights and measurements are an inexact
science. I prefer the fashion statement.
I prefer a bit of flare
even when it makes me appear
aloof. Or did I mean to say alive?
My mind swerves over the median.
I’ve crossed so many lines—
What do you think of this scarf?
I’ve had it for ages.


Spatial Continuum

I am at my desk, while at the same time
I have lit the burner to boil water for tea.

I am at the stove, while at the same time
I empty the last fire remains from the hearth.

I am at the hearth, while at the same time
I slip beneath the down duvet on my bed.

I am in my bed, while at the same time
I am in the garden and hear a bird.

An ornithologist would know the bird,
its origin and could imitate its song.

I learned to play the flute by listening
to the birds in the vast maples out my window.

The boys next door would watch me undress
in my window until their mother told mine.

My mother was more often in the garden
than in her kitchen or at a desk or in bed.

But when I stand at the stove, she’s there
frying codfish and boiling green beans.

She is hunkered over a novel by the fire
and when it reduces down to ash, she rises

and flicks the desk light off before she walks
upstairs and climbs into bed where she hears

the bird and knows its name and vows
to tell me in the morning.


~for my sisters

Middle-aged, hot B-type stars
not a billing really, more a snarky aside—
whispered too loudly by a passing cluster
clutching cocktails at a high school reunion.

We of beautiful bones, bright eyes
obvious to the naked eye in a night sky—

Even now in winter, time
and distance freeze us in the past.

We were a town of sisters then—
an abundance. A mess
of beauty.

Our bodies the stuff of stars,
carbon, nitrogen, oxygen atoms
aligned. We left an atmosphere behind.

That’s what lingers, the blue heat—
luminous, the stories spilling over time
and how we sail through it all.


Heidi Seaborn is Executive Editor of The Adroit Journal and author of [PANK] Book Award winner An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe (2021), Give a Girl Chaos (2019) and the 2020 Comstock Review Prize Chapbook, Bite Marks. Recent work in American Poetry Journal, Beloit, Copper Nickel, The Cortland Review, The Greensboro Review, The Missouri Review, The Slowdown with Tracy K. Smith, Tinderbox and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Poetry from NYU.