Saudade, Finishing Line Press, Anna’s chapbook
Anna’s poems at the phren-z on-line journal web page:
- “All The Little Things”
- “Walla Walla, Washington”
- “Slower Than Molasses”
- “When She Sings”
- “What You Planted“
- “The Thing I Did Not Love“
Other recent publications with Anna’s poetry:
- Adirondack Review, “In the Himalya Foothills,” “Red Dunes”
- Canary, “Puja for Saraswati”
- Spillway, “Discovery”
- Safe to Chew, Wicwas Press, “The Stadium of Bees”
AT THE GALLERIA BORGHESE, BERNINI’S VISION
In the room before, David aimed to slay the giant,
arm pulled back, lip bit, muscles taut, body
set to release the fatal stone.
Here, the stone had found its mark, defied
its essence and fell into a river of movement—
marble changed to cloth fluttering in the wind,
stone transformed to flesh and a tree’s budding arms
and branches. Apollo and Daphne’s flawless bodies
fled into rooted pursuit the moment Bernini’s perfect
touch found their white bodies and released them
from stone’s nameless weight—marble turning into muscle,
muscle into fear, fear into the leaves and roots of tree.
Daphne didn’t want to be caught
by fair Apollo, the hot touch of his sun-stroked arm
reaching for her pale and perfect body.
She did not desire any man.
She wanted only to run as she willed
through the woods, live with the wind in her ears.
But Apollo would have her, and her dream
ended, as dreams tend to do.
What does it mean to defy boundaries,
to turn marble into rippled cloth—
into a fluttering white river of light?
Fingers reaching to the sky while feet root into earth,
pinned down by the answer to one’s own plea
to not be harnessed
by the weight of the someone else’s heavy arm—
what does it mean to touch one’s dream
and live—to carve to the edge of every fragile leaf of life
and find perfumed perfection?
In the room next to Daphne, possession won,
proud fingers pressed into her thigh, Hades
carries Persephone into hell.
True, Bernini carved the perfect beauty,
but in the end, death found him anyway.
But this story isn’t about perfection.
It’s about how dreams run across the earth
like gods. A man carved and turned them to life.
To see them is to find a name for light.
Previously published in Earth’s Daughters, 2004
DOG OF DARKNESS
There is a dog in the thunderclouds tonight,
mouth half open, racing toward the last light
pinning the map of darkness to the sky
with a star held fast in his paw.
A lone harmonica moans
above the low hum of the boat’s motor
as the sun descends into the bed of day.
A pilgrim, I journey
to a new world.
Where I came from
I have lost.
Where I go to
I do not know.
in front and below.
All is black
but this boat.
The moon appears,
cradled by a cloud.
I empty all into the lambent path
where light sinks into darkness,
trusting the rolling rhythm of sea
to take me home,
starlight glittering in my palm.
Published previously in Flyway, April, 2001
The Indian god Ganesh, drinks milk
spoonful by spoonful fed him by thousands
all over the world.
Scientists try to explain.
Here in Kuwait I drink water, drinking
never getting enough.
I live in a desert: Too much sun.
But I still can’t explain
this chalk inside my bones.
One night a cricket sang into the empty space
outside my sixth story apartment window.
Astonished, I paused in my study,
dreaming the smell of yellow California grass
wet with dew under the stars.
Just one short song
That was all.
Then he was gone,
absorbed into the mouth of night.
If I had gone to the window,
I might have seen the cricket
perched on Ganesh’s milk soaked body,
the film of grassy dew still clinging, forgotten,
his dark singing legs.
My dry bones might have sunk down
like the dream of creation
into that sweet Milky Way,
where I’d swim,
absorbed into Ganesh’s round belly.
But I stayed behind the apartment’s wall,
trying to understand
how a cricket could live
in such a barren land.
Published in Flyway, spring 1997
“God promised me children,” Abram tells me today–
“as many as the sands of the sea,
as many as the stars.”
I look out the tent door at the desert’s flat line
beneath the night sky, lost in the black space
between spikes of light.
I am the space that holds Abram’s stars.
I watch the women near me,
children in their arms nestled at their breasts.
Abram’s God doesn’t speak to me.
At Haran, when Abram first came to me, he embraced
my body, a pool where magic carp swam.
But now his thirsty touch sinks
deeper every year.
I do not know where rain clouds come from.
My arms are empty.
My body will never be enough.
Years ago, when the famine came to us
we traveled to Pharaoh’s land.
We were both afraid of starving.
“Tell them you’re my sister,” Abram explained.
“People will see how beautiful you are
and kill me so they can have you if you don’t.”
Pharaoh sent for me.
I entered his room full of fruit, lotus, women
wearing sweet oil, gold, fine linen.
Sitting on his leopard throne,
he greeted me, the Nile shining in his eyes.
He knew nothing of my barrenness.
He brought me to his lamp-lit room that night
where he took me as his wife.
I felt the promise in his look,
as if my body could turn to water at his touch.
He had so many other wives, concubines
to offer him their pomegranate bodies.
What would it matter to him if I could not have a child?
And then I remembered Abram.
He had taken no concubine, chosen no other wife
Plagues struck Pharaoh’s house.
“Here is your wife,” Pharaoh instructed Abram.
God gave Abram back to me.
Abram, when you wander the desert,
what voice do you really hear?
When you first heard it, did it lift
like wind swept from inside a hollow rock?
Does it come from the same whisper I hear speak
from the silence of my womb?
Previously published in the volume, Decisions, Decisions, part of the Chrysalis Reader series, December 1999.