Poems: Three Poems by Heather Tinnaro

Three Poems



Twelve Inches Long, At Most


I found a small dead shark

Tangled in beach wrack this morning.

His remaining eye looked

So surprised.


I wanted to prize open

His tiny mouth

To see his tinier teeth

And discover the shape

Of a shark’s tongue.


Something in his lifeless eye, though,

Prohibited it

Looking so disappointed in death,

As though it was not at all

What he expected,



Not having expected it

At all.





Love Song to a 1976 Bicentennial Huffy Stingray


The day we met I hadn’t yet tasted blood

On those sweet chrome handlebars.

The morning I got my first bike

There I am in the photograph in my nightgown

With a red-hot-damn, brand-spankin’ new

1976 Bicentennial Banana Seat Bicycle

And a birthday cake in the background.


All I could see was glint and gleam

Scintillating red white and blue

Visions of myself hauling at hellish speed

Sparkling white cellophane streamers streaking

Straight out behind me

Up and down the hexblock sidewalk forever.


Immortalized in celluloid, only

The smells of new vinyl and clean grease

Evade film

But mingle in memory with candle wax and cake

Striped athletic socks and arctic wall-banger conditioned

Air-so-cold it made you want to die in July

Just to stay inside.


Never again, I vowed, would I

Voluntarily darken that delicious dim doorway

I would live on two wheels

Red white and blue bumping over broken sidewalks

From can’t see to can’t see

Shirtless and wild, neighborhood bicycle Boudicea

Coming in only when Momma threatened personal ruin.


Pre-installed playing cards clattered white

In the shining spokes as I steered

For the dark stifling porch and the Stygian street

Eager to crow the neighbor boys awake

With my hot-damn brand new Huffy machine.


I still always forget

Somewhere between the living room and my dreams

I will have to learn

To ride.





Bus Stop Benediction


Old man

The way you hold your body

Like your skin was a sack

Knit loose to hold your


Out at the elbows, ridges

Worn smooth over your sunken cheeks

Balancing blue eyes never


Your hands and head nod in unison in

Silent supplication, begging blessings

For every car that passes you

Your splintered pew

Your bus stop cathedral.



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