Three poems by Pianta

“Air,” “Ethnobotany,” and “The Well We Drink From”

  • Pianta


  • sharks skirt you
  • as you hold the line
  • the eagle rays
  • take conchs into their mouths
  • consuming their flesh
  • as bits of shell drift empty
  • to the ocean floor
  • the barracudas crosshatch themselves above you
  • a finned ceiling of iridescence and teeth
  • they follow light like the photosynthetic jellyfish
  • that sway in drowsy pulses of pale translucency toward the east
  • you allow yourself this drift
  • as lettuce coral
  • blooms below you
  • submerged
  • in this holy bath
  • you discard whatever has followed you from the earth
  • suspended
  • for as long as the air
  • can hold you


  • viewing Morning Glory by Sopheap Pich, 2011
  • I think about poems
  • and sometimes it’s like that
  • genocide may be what the world is doing
  • but we try to feed ourselves and our children
  • words that gather like clouds of rice
  • accompanied by the skins of morning glories
  • we try to feel full on what we say
  • on what rises from the plate to our lips

The Well We Drink From

  • water runs through everything
  • changing the pulse of electricity
  • from firefly
  • to lightning intermixed
  • with thunder
  • it is silence moving
  • the force within glaciers
  • deliberate and translucent
  • inching across the earth

Originally from O’ahu, Hawai’i, Pianta now resides in San Diego, where she writes, edits, and teaches creative writing, literature, and composition at San Diego Mesa College. Her work has appeared in Ekphrasis, Terrain.org, Bamboo Ridge Press, Istanbul Literary Review, Bloodlotus, and San Diego Poetry Annual, among others. She will be on the panel “After Experience Taught Me: The Cultural Landscape of the Creative Writer” in the Southern California Community College at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs 2016 Conference held in Los Angeles. She is currently editing several nonfiction books on a range of topics and is completing a novella.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


Beautiful poems. Pianta obviously knows what it is to be in and see in the ocean. Barracuda above and coral below; there is no other world like it. Nicely captured here.

Log in to comment

Skip Ad

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader