Care for What You Happen to Have—There Is Nothing to Lose

So what if your beloved has died
     or moved away, your possessions
     repossessed for what you cannot pay.

As long as your breath’s chest falls
     then rises: Go. Water the ferns
     of the brood you’re in. Groom your fussy
griffon. Smooth your rugose skin.
     Voyage to that Dead Sea inn
      where all your past lovers exfoliate
and float away. What you have is what you seek—
      what you failed to find, let be
      another’s gold-mire.

Observe the blue dragon
      may be purple-winged. And that peach pie
      you’ve been saving for guests:

Stick two forks in. Now go call your son.
—from Manual for Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016), copyright © 2016 by Sharon Dolin. All rights reserved.

80 pages; $15.95

University of Pittsburgh Press 


Desire and the Lack

When I lacked
desire my love unlatched

his key from me and soon
I lacked a lackey. Deserted,

unstirred, to no sir inured.
Once lacking , desire grew

for a sire. Now
desire what I lack

am nearly lack-

luster, abandoned,
conspire with abandon

for the bandoneon
player—layer-on of love

and blandishments.
There is an ache in lack

when I wake on my back
oh what I lack: a sharp ach!

What song more plaintive
than the lone key of me?

The moan key of monkey
me to let go desire? What

ire is higher
than to find a liar where

I had once been desired.
(now deserted, de-sired)

my unplucked heart
lyre in the dawn wind

ready to be strummed
into fire.
—from Whirlwind (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), copyright © 2012 by Sharon Dolin. All rights reserved.

ISBN-13: 978-0-8229-6221-2

88 pages; $15.95

University of Pittsburgh Press 

Ghazal without the Man

You started out gangly, wrangling without the man.
Now you can't remember angling without the man.

Winter of frozen cherries matted in his beard,
Spring buds in hair tangling without the man.

Go. Drive a car,  the weather wanders you.
Life's a zoo, stroke pangolin without the man.

Flux redux, can't undo. No mournful piccolos.
Such stuff as we are: Philandering without the man?

In Berkeley women loved women, men themselves.
Hard to play it straight, gamboling without the man.

Books inscribed, kisses under sheets––lost things 
Oh, turn not morose, memories dangling without the 

What if, after all is bled and flung, it won't add up?
Don't be so sure you can handle it without the man.

Sleepwalking roofs––you never were that sort.
Picked up, the pieces mangling without the man.

Got floaters in the eyes, water on the knees.
Getting older––still newfangling without the man.

Adrift yet moored, unfocused––is this how it'll end:
Your name's spelled mandolin without the man.

—from Burn and Dodge (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), by Sharon Dolin, © 2008. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

ISBN-10: 0-8229-6005-2 ISBN-13: 978-0-8229-6005-8

120 pages

$14.00 University of Pittsburgh Press

The Problem of Desertion

occurs when time feels like space
and the dead are stuck
on shore 
                while we
                 the living kneeling in our form-
                           fitted canoes 
                           paddle on the lake
                                  into years past trees
                                  whole rivers of lily pads and reeds
and all they do
                         like the loon's echoing call on the farthest
is recede

—from Realm of the Possible (Four Way Books, 2004),
copyright © 2004 by Sharon Dolin. All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1-884800-57-2
86 pages; $14.95
Four Way Books


Brillantined hair in yoke-colored light
fathomed to a dizzy blur we reach 
            and reach round for-
getting beginnings imply endings
we are suddenly all middle molten
kinesis spiked with a surety that doesn't
bother knowing its name if ecstasy 
were a color this would be its bulls-
eye the place in the fire where glass 
learns form from formlessness

and what are we but delight 
coining each other's eyes 
            a whirling
tunnel of startling 
            entrances spun from light


—from Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003),
copyright © 2003 by Sharon Dolin. All rights reserved.

ISBN: 0-9713332-6-2
72 pages; $15.00
Marsh Hawk Press

Piazza dei Cavalli Marini

Let the setter fetch the pine cone mid–fountain
let my toes drop into a cool pool to lure me
to stay and stay in the Villa Borghese and not go down
into the burning trafficked sea.

If this morning the ecstasy of Theresa
lasted only five minutes before the porter
began tamping out the candles and ordered,
All out, so be it; so did mine. Easier

To imagine the boy angel with his arrow flinched
withdrawing into a horny smirk—his wings, stone 
as if he were about to re–attack—or pinch—
her in a swoon that had already transported her––forever

with stone–closed lids––as I, by these thrashing horses, 
both legs into the cold sun of here, now, Rome.


—from Heart Work (Sheep Meadow Press, 1995),
copyright © 1995 by Sharon Dolin. All rights reserved.

ISBN: 1-878818-42-2
96 pages;

The Sheep Meadow Press

One thought on “Poems”

  1. Hi Sharon, i’m the man with two dog in pza. Diamant. I do like your poetry: grooming the fussy griffon. And saint Teresa waiting for the arrow. Inside rimes and sonorous words. enjoying the twist of words. I,ll look for your last book. In “la central” they will shurely get it for me. Nice to Met you. Luis

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