3 Poems by Mark Taneyhill


I can’t tell you one more time about the broken vows to scream the truth shaded with insults turning our confidences into rusty railroad spikes driven closest to the heart. Show me the mist hiding the mountain peaks that everyone else can see long before the collision I never knew what was ahead of us when we swam in the cold lake touching pruny hands. I remember the hatred twisting your lips like grape vines covering the spoiled earth beneath words never forgotten waiting only for the reaping to bring forth all the toxic waste that lasts for lifetimes. Please forget me putting wash clothes on your forehead praying to a God I had forsaken for the fever to break before the morning while pulling you closer wishing I was sweating and shivering instead of you. Listening together to the heartbeat watching the monitor our eyes betrayed the fear of not knowing what comes next. Life is a gamble at best. The promise of suffering is all that I know yet the possibility of your love convinced me that distant horizons of far off lands held promises I never could utter with chapped lips into the nape of your neck pressed to my cheek. Now I am lost with you in this long forgotten town where the trains no longer run and the jobs have all gone away but I continue to stay jealous of the airplanes flying over us while our lives feel like they are on hold and this anger never goes away.

I Can’t Stay Anymore

With nothing to lose, we swam the quarry to the base of rock cliffs at Peach Bottom.

The water was cold enough to cool down the nearby nuclear power plant, to shock us into action.

It’s depth impossible to know.

Our wet sneakers climbed the gray rocks,

Hand over hand, sun blaring on our backs until we reached the top.

The water below a black abyss as we stood trembling elbow to elbow on edge,

Like the night we drank white rum stolen from your mom’s liquor cabinet

On top of the jungle gym in Porter Square,

The stars and streetlights spun around us,

While your eyes, your mouth, your hands grounded me.

I wanted only to climb back down.

We jumped.

Out past the rock face



Not caring if we hurt ourselves or the ones we loved.

Suspended in the air not knowing what comes next.

Arms pinned to our sides we struck the water feet first.

Submerged into darkness

forbidding and painful.

I opened my eyes and let my mouth open,

For air bubbles I followed back to the light.
Still holding my breath, I looked for you first.

You smiled, showing all your teeth.

Your reflection on the surface wild, and cruel.

Santa Maria Maggiore

we climbed

the white stone steps

of the basilica passing

an old woman dressed in black

with her head covered with a scarf

next to her paper cup begging for coins
we were eager to take pictures with our phones

of golden mosaics meant to celebrate the bearer of god
the bronze angels protecting the crypt of the nativity

before lighting a candle for those we lost
we retreated back to the crowded street

careful to avoid the desperate pleas
of help from the mother
beneath our feet

Mark Taneyhill is a trial lawyer currently living in Wilmington, Delaware.  He enjoys attending local poetry readings and has been sharing his poetry for over twenty years.