c o n v e r g e n c e:
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EDITOR'S CHOICE: cynthia linville's

JoAnn Anglin


By JoAnn Anglin

Everyone I knew, I still know. The boy
kissing my 16-year-old neck in the dark
car, on a Friday night. The girl in fifth
grade: we argue the difference between
killed and died, me talking dictionary;
her, of her brother in Korea.

I recall the narrow-eyed woman counting
my quarters for the Saturday matinee movie,
the blonde second cousin from Montana,
stopping on his way through town.

Ex-husbands, ex-bosses. Others who were
lovers for no good reason, except themselves.
Those who could have been.

I have paid paperboys, milkmen, doctors.
Talked with neighbors, uncles who died of
drink or hard work. Drivers of buses, sellers
of ice cream, waiters.

I wear them all, woven in the warp and
weft of a coarse winter cape: comforts,
burdens, space fillers.

Nearing death, my mother-in-law saw
people at the foot of her bed, some she knew.
Had they come from the cloak of her life?
Giving off welcome or dread?

In whose thick garment do I dwell?

Photograph by Ruben Briseno Reveles

Photographs by Ruben Briseno Reveles


By JoAnn Anglin

The little boys are learning to dive.
Jesus could dive easy, they say.
He could go off the high dive like nothing.
And if he wanted, he could stay on
top of the water, and just slide across.
Heck, one says, he could even walk
right across the swimming pool.
And the other says, He could even walk
on his hands across the pool. And then
the first one says, Actually, he could even
stand on one hand on the water.
And there he is. I can see it.
The boys go on to talk about penises and
baseball, dogs and quesadillas. But me?
I'm still at the swimming pool, seeing
Jesus standing on the water, on one hand.

This poem was first published in WTF #8, Autumn, 2010

Photograph by Ruben Briseno Reveles


By JoAnn Anglin

Lay the hound of your worry
to rest, settled with strokes
of your nurturing hand.
Give yourself to the cool pantry
floor, at one with the preserved.
Lay up provisions, but move
quietly, without waste, in your
gather of space and necessity.
Lay the orderly quilt on your
industry, let its weight slow
the measure of your waking.
This is not the day to ascend.
Place your coins on the shelf,
your shoes in the corner.
Partially open the curtains.
Do not answer bells that
summon. Come only to your
own pumping heart, the deeper
currents of the earth that
call you to rest, to lay low.

Photograph by Ruben Briseno Reveles


By JoAnn Anglin

The world is not your evidence.
Amorality is rife. Picture
Big Macs, mountain lions, capitalism.

They do not care enough
to hate you. They grow strong
through weakness. Yours.

Every time. You sweet little
piece of survival. Without
or with us, life parts grow brittle,

their breaking a surprise. Why?
The world is not lazy, but easily
bored. And tries things: Earthquakes,

tsunamis. Gravity as indifferent
joke. We want to make it our yo-yo,
or a toy train with a tiny conductor

and engines. We promise love for their
minute perfections, but our wandering
attention makes them crash. Casually,

we put them back. We play our games
called Success, called Win or Lose. And wait
to see what happens.

Photograph by Ruben Briseno Reveles


By JoAnn Anglin

Ask for the greenest lettuce.
Also, the unpolished stone,

something unfinished, it opens
to you. Lean back for appraisal.

Ask the wise man. He won't answer
but turns the question back to you

inside out, so you must guess
at the pattern. Ask why the sky

waits, clouds laden as if they
cannot bear to release, until

they do. That's why. Once started,
it cannot stop. It gives what you ask,

but more. More! You regret
the request. Ask out your neighbor,

ask for a few minutes of accidental
touches, awkward bumps, delicious

sound of meaningless words falling
unasked on you both, a spring shower.

JoAnn Anglin

JoAnn Anglin

JoAnn Anglin has worked as a poet in the schools and teaches poetry writing at Folsom Prison. Active with Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol/Writers of the New Sun, JoAnn has been an invited reader at many sites throughout California. In 2012, she received the District Arts Award from the Sacramento City Council. Places that her poems have been published include Poetry Now, Rattlesnake Review, Tule Review, Pagan Muse, Sacramento Voices Anthologies, and Voces del Nuevo Sol.

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