Anna Evans

The Virgin Queen

My textbooks seemed controlled by bishops, kings,
emperors and popes, with one exception--
you, Elizabeth, who had done things
princes would quail at, who had, from conception,
flouted the rules, with beauty, grace and wit,
walked a thin line, and got away with it.

I was obsessed: your sly, six-fingered mother,
your florid father's appetites, the church
dissolved, divorce, adultery and other
intrigues of the court. A girl could search
the TV--just four channels then--and find
no drama more addictively designed.

I wanted your clothes! The bird-cage seed-pearl skirts,
the ruffs, the silks, the velvet and brocade,
and yet, you had learned early how love hurts,
sworn to abjure men and stay a maid
for England! Virgin by choice, when I was still
unkissed, you cheered me up with your free will,

even though it blighted your later life--
the bitter spinster, cheeks daubed with white lead.
While I picked different options, became a wife
twice, and took many others to my bed,
I always loved you, not for fleeting beauty,
but for conceit beyond the call of duty.

Fluid Mechanics I

"I will put chaos into fourteen lines"~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Turbulent flow: the phrase propels me back
in time--the smell of chalk, the wooden seating
in Lecture Theatre One; I have a stack
of text books on my lap, but what's competing
for my attention versus all the Greek
letters and numbers, is a boy a row
in front of me--which one? Depends which week.
What happened to that girl? Turbulent flow

caught her up in its chaotic motion--
marriage, office drudgery, divorce,
remarriage, kids, a move across an ocean--
she never seemed to hold a constant course
but somehow kept her head above the water
breathing deep as each new current caught her.

Like Father

You sent me Heaney's Beowulf with a note--
handwritten. I can see within the arc
of every letter that you ever wrote
to me, my style, my penmanship, the dark
cursive lines that run between us two.
I'm everything I am because of you.

You taught me how to look beneath the skin:
the archeology of words, that history
is only written by the ones who win;
you taught me Latin, chess and sophistry.
You taught me how to cook a roast, to think,
to solder, and to saw, and how to drink.

When I was twelve or so you almost crashed
the car I had persuaded you to drive;
I think that was the same bad year you smashed
the glass in drunken petulance. I'm alive
and you are too--it could have been much worse.
Plus you instilled in me a love of verse

that often saves me when wine can't or won't.
I'm tolerant of flawed yet brilliant men
because of you. Because of you I don't
drive drunk. I always think about you when
I set the bottle--half-full--on the shelf,
forgiving you. I can't forgive myself.


Anna M. Evans' poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Harvard Review, Atlanta Review, Rattle, American Arts Quarterly, and 32 Poems. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and is the Editor of the Raintown Review. Recipient of a 2011 Fellowship from the MacDowell Artists' Colony, she currently teaches poetry at West Windsor Art Center. Her chapbooks Swimming and Selected Sonnets are available from Maverick Duck Press. Visit her online at www.annamevans.com. Earlier work in Mezzo Cammin: 2009.1, 2006.2.


Maryann Corbett
Nausheen Eusuf
Anna M. Evans
Rebecca Foust
Nicole Caruso Garcia
Karen Kelsay
Michele Leavitt
Laura Maffei
Susan McLean
Annabelle Moseley
Jennifer Reeser
Myrna Stone
Wendy Vardaman
Doris Watts
Marly Youmans

> Poet Terri Witek and visual artist Jo Yarrington appear in Evolve the Conversation.

> Mezzo Cammin to sponsor
scholarship at the West Chester Poetry Conference.
Holly Trostle Brigham: My paintings are rich with symbolism. I include flowers, butterflies, and other things from nature that communicate messages about the subject. These elements are interconnected with biographical references to tell a larger story about the sitter's life or place in history.
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