The HyperTexts

Tara A. Elliott

Tara A. Elliott is an American poet and editor who was born in Flushing, New York. She spent much of her childhood moving, then finally settled down on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Founder and co-editor of Triplopia eZine and long time moderator at Poem Online, she has won various awards, and has had poetry published in Short Stuff, The Baroque Review, Lotus Blooms Journal, Adagio Verse Quarterly and The Writer's Hood. She lives in a house made entirely from books with her husband Paul, and two wily dogs, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.


He blends into the sky
while you stand striking in the forefront,
dark hair wild with wind, lips black with redness.

You are half-smile-squinting in your swing coat
and he, with his pea-coat collar turned up,
stands proudly on the bow.

Somehow I know your fingers 
are twisted round your purse strings in nervousness;
his hand warms and protects the small of your back.

Today was the first time I noticed 
the green glint of freedom in your eyes.
                                Suddenly I realized,
he was the escape from your own father's ghost,
from the mother who kept you in Mary Janes at twenty.

How badly you must have wanted out, Mother.

How many years did you dream of something different—
something just beyond this camera's scope?

In the black and white of 1963, my Father was already a ghost.

Published In Adagio Verse Quarterly

I remember my first time:  
the hair, garnet-red, eclipsing his face,  
and there, couched in Summer's shadow,  
I felt the pinch of the breaking through,  
the loosening of myself, the fall into rhythm  
as he nearly ground my hips to dust . . .  
and the collapse, where I curled up into myself,  
hardened and somewhat hollow,  
like bark. 

Gold Winner, Net Poetry & Arts Contest

Pruning Wisteria

There is something about the first cut,
the blade slicing through old wood
to leave the wound white against the bark.

Knees pressed into damp earth, I crawl
beneath your hundreds of twists and spires,
below the purple remains of your trailing blooms.

Again, you silently test me
as I snip and saw with yearly precision
in the struggle to untangle your windings.

Tomorrow you will speak to me, as you do each spring,
in the language of knotted shoulders, stiffened fingers;
tomorrow you will forgive me the wounds,
for I shall speak your ancient gnarled tongue.

Published in Reconnaitre Magazine

Crabbing on the Chesapeake

For Billy Collins, After "Fishing on the Susquehanna in July"

And so, I take you
crabbing on the Chesapeake in August—

Into the flat bottom boat,
the floor paint flaking old and gray;

Into the steady vibration of engine,
the diesel rising like broken wind against salted air;

Into the newborn scream of the gulls
which hover motionless above, as though attached by wire.

Into the heat of the sun, baking skin crisp,
until all you can smell is fresh sweat, old fish, cheap beer;

Until all you can see is the blueness of the shells
mounting, mounting in the tan bushel baskets,
the whiteness of the boat against the blue, blue sky,
the flat bottom rocking, rocking from side to side,
up one wave, down the other, into the early morning
wake of a thousand ghostly trout liners.

And there on the horizon where the sky greets the water,

you meet yourself

and know that always, always there will be this.

And in that moment, you turn to me,
grin with your cigarette pinned between your teeth,
and say

this is poetry.

2nd Place, IBPC

Saturday morning, 
and the sun rolls behind clouds 
as we revel in patches of darkness 
from the warmth of our nest-like bed. 
Outside, leaves puddle 
then scrape against the deck 
as the wind lifts them from their landing, 
allowing them again, the fall. 
Thankfulness comes at rare moments; 
husband, I watch you sleep. 

Published in Reconnaitre Magazine


One hundred is ten more than ninety,
ninety is twenty more than seventy,
seventy is thirty more than forty, 
forty is forty more than zero. 

Zero is not more than anything—
Zero is nothing.

For a hundred dawns,
I watched as she whittled you into darkness.
For a hundred days,
I watched as she carved her lines into your face.
For a hundred nights,
I watched as she sanded you into nothing.

Nothing is the absence of anything—
it is an empty circle, it is a tumor, it is zero.

It is the point on the number line 
at which one begins to grieve.

Gold Winner, Net Poetry & Arts Contest

The HyperTexts