Hilde Weisert

The Transit Hall on Pier 86
July 25, 2016 Weisert Hilde

The Transit Hall on Pier 86


They say there’s a place in the brain for faces

and I believe it, this headache a claw

into raw nerves, the strain of testing

so many men’s faces for my one “Father”


as the boat empties and the transit hall

fills with women, children, and one plausible man

after another whose face dissolves

with study. For a moment each one


could be him, ruddy, regular, a gaze returned

into my face, which has its own brain

place also working hard to make

something recognizable as a daughter


out of so many raw nerves. The looking and the looked-at

swim – these places in the brain are wet, gelid,

something out of Coelenterata that starts to wave

at this handsome new father until his hard


square eyes break my floundering smile

into one more mistake. A decade is long

when you are twenty. The long hall rings

with “Hello’s!”, feet on pavement, the clamoring


embrace. When I see him, I am alone,

and at his eyes, drop my own, ashamed

I tried so many strangers on, itinerants against

the one face that goes here, and whose eyes


I could have lost when they are the same

as mine. Mine that I work to raise, bringing up

a woman’s face out of a child’s, and offering my father

a hand, dry and outstretched.

Hilde Weisert’s poetry collection The Scheme of Things was published by David Robert Books in 2015.  Ms. Weisert won the CALYX Journal’s 2008 Seventh Annual Lois Cranston Memorial Prize. Her poems have appeared in such magazines as Ms., Prairie Schooner, The Sun, and Southern Poetry Review. She is a Geraldine Dodge Poet and a 2009 and 2016 resident fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is also co-founder of the Society for Veterinary Medicine and Literature, promoting the reading of poetry in the veterinary medicine curriculum.