Joan E. Bauer
Joan Bauer is the author of The Almost Sound of Drowning (Main Street Rag, 2008).   Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals including 5 AM, Pearl, Quarterly West, Slipstream, and US 1 Worksheets, and in over a dozen anthologies, among them, Along These Rivers: Poetry and Photography from Pittsburgh, Come Together: Imagine Peace, and Only the Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami, which she co-edited with Judith Robinson and Sankar Roy in 2005. Her poetry has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and in 2007, her poem “Sleepers,” won the Earl Birney Poetry Prize from Prism International. For some years, Joan worked as an English teacher and educational counselor and now divides her time between Venice, CA and Pittsburgh, PA where she co-hosts and curates the Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series. For more on the series, go to:   

Blind Date           


I drive all the way to Baltimore

for a blind date with a Chekhov scholar.


The tremor in his hands,

the way his sugar rises as he eats

three carrots.  His soft-yolk eyes

dancing helplessly.


In the ladies’ room,

blink at the uncertain woman

in the mirror, wonder 


            If you’re free to do whatever you want,

            why are you doing this?


Back with the diabetic Russian,

distract myself thinking how

sometimes in life (as in Chekhov)

nothing happens. 


Then wonder, what’s this poor guy thinking

and whom might I remind him of—


            Madame Ranevsky,

            the profligate widow.

            Varya, almost a nun.

                         Anya the idealist,

            soul-starved, grasping whatever poison

                        is pushed her way—


            All of them at once?


Just then he stops pushing carrots

around his plate, says to me:


            In Chekhov, the pain is unbearable.



                        -Joan E. Bauer

                        from The Almost Sound of Drowning (Main Street Rag, 2008)

2014 Joan E. Bauer
Joan E. Bauer was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the February 2014 Second Sunday Poetry Series