Anna Evans

Three for Hope

You light another menthol cigarette
in my garage; I want to stub it out,
to lecture you, and yet I can’t forget
the weeks after I left: the booze, the pot,
chain smoking at my brother’s. Starter marriage:
that’s what they said to me. You have a child.
I walked out, unlike you, with little baggage,
at least that showed. Still, both of us rebelled
from similar positions; we compare
our histories—how lonely childhoods led
to hasty weddings, because we longed to share
real family dinners and a king-size bed.
You inhale smoke and cough. You’re getting sicker.
My healing took me years. May yours be quicker.

If only crying made the weeks pass quicker.
Your phone rings right on time—your brand new lover.
Your face goes soft, your voice a little thicker.
I cheer you from the sidelines, as a mother
should but rarely does, as one still living
with the rebound love. And here’s the news:
we’ve quarreled and made up now for eleven
years—I’m proud of that, don’t want to lose
this one. You say the same, but talk about
the looks you've caught, the prejudice. I know
that has to scare you, though you hide your doubt.
You laugh and say you’re tough. I hope it’s so,
the nose-ring, the Doc Marts, not just disguise.
Your lack of sleep casts circles by your eyes.

If only problems didn’t swamp your eyes:
the house to sell, the bills, care of your son,
the custody agreement, and the lies
you have to tell to almost everyone.
If I could pour you happiness like wine,
but I cannot. Instead I fill your glass;
you raise it, clink it gently against mine.
I wish that all we wish for comes to pass.
I want to visit you and her alone
in some artistic New York pad. You’ll both
be published writers. Your son will be grown,
in college, maybe. You’ll still be in love.
I see it, but I cannot feel it yet.
You sip your wine; I light your cigarette.

Lullaby in Glose Form
after Philip Larkin

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
the sun-comprehending glass
and beyond it, the deep blue air that shows
nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

Child, my breath, your blood;
my breastmilk, your food. We began animal close,
a brightness the years have uncolored.
Rather than words comes the thought of high windows.

Sometimes your form opaques me now. You raise
your voice and then your perfect fists;
my calm burns up beneath your angry gaze,
the sun-comprehending glass.

But feverish, your baby face
seeks out the nurture every child knows
a mother owes, the womb-safe place
and, beyond it, the deep blue air that shows

your future. Hush now, daughter, do not fret.
The mesh of debt that cleaves us
is drenched in blood-milk, substance that forgets
nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless.

Elegy for a Lost Countryside and a Distant Brother

"I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster."
--"One Art," Elizabeth Bishop

Where there were nettles, dock leaves also grew.
When I was six you taught me how to squeeze
the juice out on the red bumps that my knees,
shins and arms collected as we flew
toward the bramble hedges where a slew
of thorns policed sweet hordes of blackberries:
we gorged on them, like starving refugees.
I wore your hand-me-downs to be like you.

Jersey's tended ways are clipped and clear
of blackberries and nettles. Grown, I doubt
those old cures ever really worked.
                                               Last year
I called you on your birthday; you were out.
They've built townhouses where we used to run;
we've changed in ways that cannot be undone.

Dreaming of Robert Lowell

The poet takes my hand on Revere Street.
He says, Death leaves our stories incomplete.
I nod, and like a horse tossing its head
the dreamtime fabric ripples, and a red
sunset hangs above a row of pines;
we walk between them toward an urn which shines
like a white beacon, but gives off a smell
of rot, for in the scum a turtle shell
floats upside down: the boy Cal’s odd obsession,
a turtle charnel house. We learn possession—
of life, of things—is fleeting. So is truth.
Unknowing of this, poets in our youth
begin, with elegies of loss, in sadness;
lose innocence and end, thereby, in madness.


Anna Evans is a British citizen but permanent resident of New Jersey, where she is raising two daughters. Her poems have appeared in The Formalist, The Evansville Review, Measure, and e-zines such as Verse Libre Quarterly. She has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and was a finalist in the 2005 Howard Nemerov sonnet award. Editor of the formal poetry e-zine The Barefoot Muse, she saw her first chapbook Swimming published in March 2006 by Powerscore Press.


Melissa Balmain
Lorna Knowles Blake
Catherine Chandler
Jehanne Dubrow
Anna Evans
Midge Goldberg
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Julie Kane
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Susan McLean
Julia Randall
Terri Witek

Therese Chabot creates delicate, ephemeral installations – carpets, dresses and crowns – using flower petals and natural materials to speak of the stages of life and the paths we are given to choose from.
32 Poems
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