The Monday Poem: ‘Pomegranate’ by Kevin Pilkington

The Monday Poem is brought to you by Professor Jim Gormley of the English Department. Enjoy!

Kevin Pilkington

A woman walks by the bench I’m sitting on
with her dog that looks part Lab, part Buick,
stops and asks if I would like to dance.
I smile, tell her of course I do. We decide
on a waltz that she begins to hum.

We spin and sway across the street in between
parked cars and I can tell she realizes
she chose a man who understands the rhythm
of sand, the boundaries of thought. We glide
and Fred and Ginger might come to mind or
a breeze filled with the scent of flowers of your choice.
Coffee stops flowing as a waitress stares out the window
of a diner while I lead my partner back across the street.

When we come to the end of our dance,
we compliment each other and to repay the favor
I tell her to be careful since the world comes to an end
three blocks to the east of where we stand. Then
I remind her as long as there is a ’59 Cadillac parked
somewhere in a backyard between here and Boise
she will dance again.

As she leaves content with her dog, its tail wagging
like gossip, I am convinced now more than ever
that I once held hundreds of roses in my hands
the first time I cut open a pomegranate.

About This Poem

“I saw the unusual sight of a couple dancing a waltz on the sidewalk. When there were no passing cars, they would glide onto the street and then back again. An older man watched from a bench smiling and eating a pomegranate—this unlikely scene triggered the poem.”
—Kevin Pilkington
Kevin Pilkington is the author of Where You Want to Be: New and Selected Poems (Black Lawrence Press, 2015). He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City