pesbo since 2005.

Pearl Pirie’s book lists, interviews, event write-ups, poems and more.

Numbers Just Don't

Numbers Just don’t stick
in my head. Numbers
trip in my head, tumble,
collide, a tangled tango
of 11 and crossed 7s.
They jive but not well
switching positions, shifting
to cough-sobre, the suddenly
self-conscious lines
try to rebutton each other,
blink up with near-confident smiles
in a dishevelled, hastily reassembled,
to presentable state,
but obviously
to everyone else, wrong

If I were given a 2H pencil

If I were given a 2H pencil

and asked to sketch what I saw of you
it would frustrate me to have to crosshatch
to capture the shadows of your smooth face
between the stubble of your chin and the arch
below the apples of your cheeks.

although I would be gentle with my lightest touch
it would pain me to stroke lines onto your lips which
I am sure are petal soft. I would be anguished
over your eyelashes. How could I ask a viewer
to believe they are that thick, that long,

if I could draw in the fleeting fawn of your eyes
people would think I’m trying to exaggerate
ludicrously, but even then if wouldn’t be
more than an onion paper thin portion of your beauty.
Will your heart, your confidence elude my hand?

Gelato Shop

Gelato Shop

At this, the coldest of cold buffets,
a man asks if there is any ice cream.
The serving lady spreads her hands
says it all is, looking as if she is
trying not to look at him like the
thicker than cream man she clearly
thinks he is. He rephrases, Not sherbet?

No sir. Only sorbet and gelato.
No ice cream at all then? he asks.
She sets to task, her lip a firm line
explaining differences away. 40 flavors
of ice cream, sir, gelato just Italian
for ice cream, same-same. Persuasion is
proffered by tiny sample spoon

palate cooling, shoulders sinking
into the hammock of collar bones,
goosebumps set up a civilization
of unflagged flagpoles of surrender
to the mad rush to flavor, savor
soursop and ginger flown to nap
in the cooling tree top with Bacio,
spooning, nesting, pressing,
in a small waxed paper cup
bailed out, scraped and sucked
a melding new flavored rivermelt
knuckles, chin and nose sticky
with convincing that those are
by any name worth, a vacation
for pocketchange.


night suspends its tent,
old moths-eaten sky
a mile up, a world wide

that farmlight too is gone,
blinked out in the dip of road
between hilllocks

taking father’s key
from where I know
it’s hidden
I let myself in
do the dishes
while waiting
for his return


told what to change into
before mom and dad let us leave

begging mom and dad to change
and go out with them ashamed

wearing sunday best
anytime we see our parents

telling our kids what to change into
before we can go and see nana and pop

Forest Refuge

Forest Refuge

Pass trunk to trunk
your movements, a pulse
of an organelle in the forest cell.
The bars of the conifer grove
denote home. The fibrous
living welcome mats are beneath
your feet, they reach for miles,
tangling over and under themselves.
They, up the twigs, are an extension
of your own vascular system. You
are among only safe kin here. Stretch,
spread your back, unfasten
the hook and eye that clasps
your shoulder blades.
Let your fingertips reach
with the layered limbs
their horizons extend yours.
Lean your back against the scratch
of vertical bark. Know home
in the aromatherapy of pine gum,
lay yourself down on the damp dawn
a bed of needles that cannot pierce,
cannot mend or weave or work, only be,
only smooth your brow. Even as
you wipe your hands of them and
would leave, they press themselves
like creased pins of dollars into your hands
their polished red imprints in your palms
wishing you only the best, safe trip
soon return.