Pie, Peter Schireson

Dale Champlin, Swallow Through Flower Wreath, Collage, 2021



The light pours into my eyes,
signs fall from the sky,
I scrawl their outlines onto my body,
I mold my lips into a kiss for Dolores,
the waitress I met in the little park, marvel
at the many kinds of pie in her café, baked fresh daily,
and the bottomless cups of coffee,
I enjoy the rustle of her slip,
like summer snow.
Would you like ice cream with that?
Her words swarm in my ears

as I finish my pie
and walk out of the café
into the great impartial calm.
I raise my hands to my face
and look up, the stars huge in the sky,
my eyes huge in the stars.

Peter Schireson


Review by Robert Nisbet

These are three quite simple poems, but I really like the most enjoyable and effective way they work as a series of three variations on a traditional theme.

The quotidian life in the first poem, “Pie”, is a finely-judged blend of the mundane and the attractive: the lovely Dolores, the fresh-baked pies, the coffee (and yes, “the rustle of her slip”). Plenty of fun there. But beyond and above that daily dealing are the stars and “the great impartial calm”.


Review by Paul Willis

I love the way this poem begins and ends with cosmic congruence of light, sky, stars and eyes but centers itself on the speaker’s infatuation with Dolores, the waitress he has met in the park.  Though he may “mold [his] lips into a kiss” just for her, and though he apparently lingers in her café for hours, I get the sense that the kiss never lands, that Dolores remains as distant and yet as meaningful as those stars in the sky which provide, in the end, a “great impartial calm” that culminates the poem.  The Neo-Platonists would approve!






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