Diana Pinckney is the award-winning author of three previous books of poetry. Her work has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies, including Atlanta Review, Calyx, Cave Wall, Green Mountains Review, Kalliope, RHINO, Tar River Poetry. She is the 2010 winner of the Ekphrasis prize.
A five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Pinckney has been a featured reader in the Sundown Series for the Piccolo Spoleto Arts Festival, The Blumenthal Writers and Readers Series, the Sensoria Literary Festival and the Charleston Public Library Literary Series. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where she teaches poetry at the Cornwell Center.
WHERE HER DAUGHTER GOES
Tall on this rock, she gives
me a See ya and dives
for longer and longer swims,
leaving me to wonder whose sails
spread before or under her
on those hard slick boats she loves.
Whose sand oozes
between her toes, sticks to her legs
after a throw-down with beach bums.
Total party hounds, she sneers
when I ask. Gives me an O.K. sure
or worse, a None’ ya biz when I warn.
Besides me, who waits for those white
arms rolling in the foam of midnight,
those bright streamers of hair tangled
with moonlight, lifted by a tide
that measures my days, that returns
each night, refusing to give up my daughter.
THE MERMAID’S DAUGHTER WONDERS
WHO HER MOTHER IS
I floated by in a basket?
Like wood storks bring babies out
of the marsh. Oh, please.
So she sang and played her flute,
combed my hair with coral and, whoa,
gave me manatee’s milk meant
for those fat pups
under mangrove roots, wrapped me
in greasy sealskins, yuck,
fed me fish roe – no way this was caviar –
tern eggs. Whatever.
did I end up with her?
Maybe some beach beauty
does a total meltdown at two a.m.,
can’t take the crying.
Who knows. Hello? No one
drops her baby in a grass basket –
wouldn’t that leak -- then shoves it out to sea.
Mothers don’t do that.