A! Magazine for the Arts

Poems by Dominique Traverse are below.

Poems by Dominique Traverse are below.

Poetry: Dominique Traverse 'Connects' with Readers

March 24, 2009

Of her "mamaw," Dominique Traverse says, "Brown beans and cornbread is one of the most important food groups according to my deceased grandmother who spent all 89 years living contently in the Appalachian Mountains raising cattle, tobacco, children, and grandchildren, often with a playful toughness.

"Somewhere between frying taters and reading the obituaries, she found time to tell me stories that had been fabricated and circulated throughout the fields and hollers for generations and generations. She told them with such fervor and conviction, even the most absurd plots became as true as the gospel. That, accompanied by parents telling me bedtime stories and surrounding me with every nursery rhyme and Dr. Seuss book ever written, made it inevitable that creative writing and storytelling would be an aspect of my life. Yet I never planned on being a poet and poetry sure wasn't planning on me. I guess after a while we just accepted that we're stuck with each other.

"I'm aware that many poets strive to connect readers to the larger world, but I write to connect readers to my world. Oftentimes, my poems are caricatures of people who are just too peculiar or too humorous for me to easily forget."

During her final semester at Virginia Intermont College, Traverse was selected as editor of the literary magazine, The Moore Street Review. She teaches 8th grade English at Twin Valley High School in Buchanan County, Va. Recently she and six journalism students launched a 50-page literary magazine. She plans to pursue an M.F.A. in writing and literature.


Escaping Mamaw in Stormy Weather
For Pauline Warren (1913-2003) and family

by Dominique Traverse

While my teeth were crooked and wiggling loose
I skipped around the tin roofed well-house
that roared and thundered in the pouring rain.

You'd scold me from behind the screen door,
then from the porch --
taking off after me, mad as an old wet hen.

I remember pummeling wildly through puddles
as you splashed and squalled after me,

limber switch in that fist -- now
frail and gnarled --

striping my scrawny legs.


Their World

by Dominique Traverse

I do not appreciate the dirty pigeons, evil bombers relieving
their fowl bowels,
altering my automobile from sleek black Angus to Holstein cow,
cooing wildly, laughing at me.

The grey tabby cat that should be chasing the vandals
is snoozing away the September afternoon on the hot black
His ears twitch and his fur blows like the weightless seeds of a

She is in a wheelchair, but she is not crippled. She spins and
coasts and halts
beside the garbage can. She stands to shuffle silver tin and
separate trophies from trash.
The vulture keeps on. Where is she going with my leftovers?

The shirtless boy in frayed camouflage cut-offs calls, "Hey baby,
nice shorts."
His rodent snout snickers. I glare and blush. I resent his beady
For a moment I yearn to punch him.

Instead I seek shelter on this old front porch, nose pressed to
where I can hide, hide from the things I do not understand.
I am no longer a part of their world.

Reprinted with permission from the 2006 Issue of the Clinch Mountain Review


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