Three poems by Tania Hershman


I saw my mother’s
heart today. She pressed
up against the machine
while, a few feet away
I watched it load
on the computer screen.
Is that…? I asked. The radiologist
immune to the novelty
of inside views, nodded.

I’d helped my mother
get undressed, seen
for the first time
the vest she wore
to cover where her breasts had been.
I had not expected
several minutes later
to see her chest –
like wings unfurling –
open itself out to me.

Released, my mother stood
small and grinning
in her backless gown,
no idea what I’d seen
or what she’d shown.
I kept it to myself,
my mother’s heart.
It had not looked
as I’d imagined, but
like a star, shooting
through her ribs, that body
I used to be a part of.

(longlisted for Canterbury Poet of the Year 2014, published in the winners’ anthology)
Listen to Tania Hershman reading ‘Body’ on SoundCloud.

Once, early on in my development,
some boy took me to the roof
to see Orion’s Belt, the Pleiades.

I listened, looked politely where he
pointed, but already then I knew – though
he had left the door ajar, and I

was not yet fully-formed – that this
had nothing to do with stars,
the tug of gravity.

(Commended, Ealing Autumn Poetry Competition 2014, published on the Ealing Autumn festival website)
1 & 2


Catch me, appled, love, oh catch me. Dimpled, I am sweeter, loves of honey, men and ministries. You talk me, peached; I sink. And sinking, trip; I fly. Summon me troops, warn me whispered, take me longing, fighting, sleepless.


Night will come and then the night will come and then the rain. The night comes, rained, and you are more night to my rain, darkened we are only shuttered, and after dark. And after: rain.

(published in Tears in the Fence, Winter 2012)
Tania Hershman is the author of two story collections: My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012), and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008). Her poetry chapbook Nothing Here is Wild, Everything Is Open, 2nd prize winner in Munster Literature Centre’s Fool for Poetry Competition will be published by Southword editions in February 2016.