Three Poems / by Trinity Tibe

A Little, a Very Little

I worry what they think
of my fingernails. When I want strangers
to stare, they don’t.
I imagined myself in a man’s
dark heather blue sweatshirt,
alone. I don’t care
what he’ll think of the empty hanger, we’ve never
met. A pile of clean blankets is an under-
world, I will admit
myself, here is the ticket. What constitutes a fine
vacation varies, depending. We each have an hour
on the train, the train has an hour with us. Coupled
by circumstance, a caught gaze leads to nothing.





Half of the Water

Atlantic and Grand
steeple their hands,
I mourn
in their knuckles.
According to science, grief is a system,
a pattern broken
into stages. My grief is as whole
as a mouse a snake swallows.

I love two places at once
so I study linguistics of loyalty
in a city so huge any urge can be sold
as a specialty. I can have anything here
but you, I trade you for a walk
across the Brooklyn Bridge, you
for a dollar slice, you for a MetroCard,
for a ride to Brighton Beach,
where I float in the sea, the moon’s out at noon,
up drifts a bottle filled with your last breath.

Bereft, I take the raft back
to my roof to drink
from the hose, saltwater
seizes the pipes, so I add baking soda
and polish my teeth. If my grief insists
on tailing me, I must
throw your scent from my mouth.





Home Sweet Homeostasis

A morning at the golden shore
driven inland to a sleepy afternoon
mimics my early years by the sea.

What happened to the wade fisher who hooked a shark on his line?
Maybe he lost a leg but caught his dinner. The best hunger
comes after a day in the sun, beer’s better too,

which reminds me I am old enough to crack a cold one
and drink it alone in the shower.

Welcome, fresh water falling from the silver faucet.
An hour ago I was a mermaid, neck-deep in sand,
I’ll send you down the drain a new shade,
frothed and whirlpooled back to the beach, a slurry of grit.

As coconut cream carves a chute through the salt on my back,
I wait for that Florida mint motel feeling,
but it’s been twenty years and my parents
are not on the other side of the wall
digging through a cooler.

I sing at the tile, sound better in ceramic, truly feel Dolly Parton’s sorrow,
Jolene, I’m beggin’ of you.
Give me the soothesound of a window AC, a pile of bleach white coins,
big Cuban sandwiches cut into thirds, a hand to rub aloe onto my shoulders.

My skin is bred to be buttered and toasted,
these tan lines are experts at architecture,
dig me a moat and I’ll take your last name I say to the brine in the air.





Trinity Tibe is the author of two chapbooks, Starting a Dynasty and Reasons I’ve Said Yes Lately.  She is a co-founder of Say Yes Electric Collective, an art community in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, that creates space for diverse artists and encourages collaboration. She is working on her MFA in Poetry at The New School, and she also loves to draw, paint, and puppeteer. 
Find her at or on Twitter @TrinityTibe.