Trina and the Sky


poems by

Kenneth Pobo

Poetry chapbook, 40 pages, $10 cover price

($7 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-225-5

Release date: 2009






Kenneth Pobo lives in Media, Pennsylvania and has been writing poems since he was a high school sophomore, almost forty years ago. His first book, Glass Garden, was published in 2008 by WordTech Press. He teaches Creative Writing and English at Widener University in Pennsylvania. On Saturdays he hosts an online radio show, “Obscure Oldies,” at He gardens, reads ancient Chinese poets in translation, and loves films by Ingmar Bergman.

Ken Pobo is a master at saying more than what’s on the page-and showing more than what you see. In plain but allusive language, Trina and the Sky pries open the lives we all hide, and “they leak like open sores.”

–Charles Rammelkamp,
The Book of Life and Castleman in the Academy


The woman next to you in the supermarket line leads a rich, desperate life. Her name is Trina. Ken Pobo gives her an unforgettable voice.

–Margaret Robinson,
Sparks and Arrangements



I think about my wedding day–
penguin-like Frank in a tux,
my mother disappearing

behind a pale blue dress
and eye shadow, my allergic
father. When penguins dip

and dive, do they sense that
they’ve been had? Marriage
was supposed to be

my Antarctica, a shore
to stand on. I soon found
that I’m in a zoo. People

point and say “Trina’s so capable.”
I can do tricks, can flap my wings,
but swimming away?–my nose

hits glass. Is there a secret
break in the tank
so I can find my real home?



Vicki’s home from the body
piercing shop, a silver stud
through her tongue. Soon

she’ll have no skin left,
only iron ripples and
greenish swirls. She calls
her body a big experiment.

I didn’t experiment, smiled
when smiling was wanted.
Even now, in beige
and gold, beige and gold,
I’m told I look nice. Vicki
looks like a scream. Maybe

in a laboratory something new
demands a scream–the sky
always changes. Vicki,
a sky pierced by lightning.



My family knows this room
by their feet. They breeze
in, open the fridge, and go.
I know this room through my fingers

dragging a rag over the floor, fingers
pruned in soapy water. A breeze
drops in the living room,
dead before it finds me. Years ago

I felt I’d have some place to go,
not a kitchen smelling of chicken fingers
and disinfectant. I’d breeze
my way from country to country, room

to room, but I had babies, no room
for travel then, no place to go
but to the sink or nursery, my fingers
cleaning floors and bottoms. No breeze

to cool my anger in every room, no breeze
and a grief that won’t go from my fingers.



I suppose that I believe God watches
over this house. Well, I hope God likes comedy.
I took Vicki and Chester to Pekin Bible Church

every Sunday. Frank wouldn’t go, said
if he didn’t cut the grass on Sunday morning
it would never get done. Vicki calls God

a loser and Chester doesn’t talk about spiritual things,
at least with us. So I sit downstairs with Elvis,
tell him about my day. I think of him

as a permanent guest in our basement.
I’d better go back upstairs now. Bye, Elvis.
I climb the stairs and open a door

that leads into our jam-scented kitchen.
Through the window I see our porchlight,
a single yellow firefly. A flash of heat lightning.

For a second, the sky looks like a black
leather jacket, the silver zipper a line
of stars sliding through elms.

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