Tim Staley | 3 poems

Seaside At Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
From here everyone is recreating
except those guys flossing a pool
or those guys blowing lawn clippings into the waves
or those missionaries in suits 
or those refugees in rags
standing at our threshold
addressing us in the water
letting us swim
saying with their faces, 
we hate to bother you.

Sailing At Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

The freckles on her legs sparkle in the sun.
In the sailboat she’s pink with youth,
on the shore she’s 52. 
I work the lines.

My right hand is relaxed,
my left, delicate on the rudder.
I’m working the rudder like a clitoris
aiming thrust just right.

Watch the sail quake, tremble, buck
the speed’s too much 
for the rudder—it snaps off in my hand—
the vessel whips in a circle and flips us.

My lover’s not fazed 
as the water’s warm and she’s been 
thrown from boats before. 

A Worrisome Spill of Mountain and Cloud

My spouse on the sofa 
typing furiously on her phone
chewing the inside of her cheek
balancing something sad behind her eyes.

Is she worrying about Lois passing in and out,
is she wishing I was disposable,
is she wishing she were somewhere else—
I can’t tell, I’m in the kitchen,
so many human steps away.

If I was her I’d rent a canoe in Arles
and float the Rhône River.
Here’s the pictures I’d take: rock, 
sand, water, two cigarette butts
forming a T on the pebbled bank.
After two weeks 
I’d return lonely enough 
to sit down beside her
to ask her, what’s wrong?



Tim Staley was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1975. His debut poetry collection, Lost On My Own Street, was published by Pski’s Porch in 2016. His newest poetry chapbook, The Most Honest Syllable Is Shhh, is forthcoming from Night Ballet Press. He founded Grandma Moses Press in 1992, and currently serves as publisher. He completed a Poetry MFA from New Mexico State University in 2004. He lives with his wife and daughter in the American stretch of the Chihuahuan Desert. His hobbies include thinking, nachos and waiting.

3 thoughts on “Tim Staley | 3 poems

  1. You have a way with your words. Love the image of the 52 years young women from the boat-the shore. Thanks for sharing your work.


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