Tina Barry



When I Hold a Finger to My Ear

I hear your call, brined in salt yet distinct. You challenge me to a duel of rhymes, but I’ve sparred with you before. Can you smell my longing through the rivets of your palm? Hear the rain pummel my coat?

Your Fate Line is My Fate Line

Why pretend otherwise? A tortoise raises its head, admires the shadow of its profile on the ocean. Shoals of your skin bob and cool. I warn the children not to swim there.

I Picture a Raft in Your Future

Tattoo my back with seaweed, conch shells, anchors and Apollo’s lyre. Think of me as a new ocean to voyage. The sun line deepens heading south.

All Lines Lead to Impatience

I’ve conjured a route with Mercury to guide me. Mussels shiver in nets. Buoys bounce. The hull is below, resplendent in its weather. Take me there. Even the boat creaks with complaint. It’s traveled too far for romance.

Tina Barry is the author of Beautiful Raft (Big Table Publishing, fall 2019) and Mall Flower (Big Table Publishing, 2016). Her writing appears in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best Small Fictions 2020 (spotlighted story) and 2016, Drunken BoatInch Magazine, the American Poetry Journal, Nasty Women Poets, and A Constellation of Kisses. Tina is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. She teaches at The Poetry Barn, Writers.com and Gemini Ink. 

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