Anna Cates


Years ago, at the Foursquare Gospel Church, I was surprised when the guest preacher lunged out at me, remonstrating about how glad I should feel to live in America. I just don't see how I had that coming. I was just sitting there, pat on the pew, like everyone else. Was I not “plastic smile club” enough?

church picnic
speaking in tongues
a mocking jay


solar, water, wind . . .
who can harness man’s lust,
tame the Leviathan?

A philosopher once said, “Life is like a fish bowl . . . ”

Some women wear abayas to escape the eyes. Others go as far as the burka. I figure, if I can avoid female pattern baldness, my head is covered!

small town charm . . .
arborvitae shadow
a stranger


looking forward
looking back
no exits
only fresh starts

a Catholic boy
caught in the act balks
forms pearly history
glistening luminous
the city in the rain

beside graffiti
pilgrims quaff symbolic draught
while piano notes empower
the suggestion of a j walk
down metaphysical Main Street

even cold rooms
tell stories
imaginary parrots
pace and squawk

watch the pony girls and listen
to the gargoyles that talk
cleansing showers
baptize beggars by the kiosk

Anna Cates is a graduate of Indiana State University (M.A. English and Ph.D. Curriculum & Instruction/English) and National University (M.F.A. Creative Writing). Her first collections of poetry and fiction, The Meaning of Life and The Frog King, were published by Cyberwit Press, and her second poetry collection, The Darkroom, by Prolific Press. She lives in Ohio with her cat, Freddie, and teaches education and English online.
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