A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Anna Evans

was born in Britain but is now an American citizen, living in New Jersey, where she is raising two daughters. Among her publication credits are The Harvard Review, The Atlanta Review, Rattle and Measure.

She was a finalist for both the 2005 and 2007 Howard Nemerov sonnet award and for the 2007 Willis Barnstone Translation Award.

She is Editor-in-Chief of The Raintown Review, and Editor of the formal poetry e-zine The Barefoot Muse. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and her first chapbook Swimming was published in March 2006 by Maverick Duck Press.

—Back to Orsorum Contents/Issue Links—


Yours, bat-winged, one tip reglued,
and mine, with scales upon its back,
have sentineled the house side door
for years. No rain, or wind, or lack

of note would move them from their post.
Diverse in form, but like in mind,
their ugliness belies their art.
No garden center sells their kind

beside the gnomes and smiling toads.
The constancy of weathered stone
is priceless. Mutely, they affirm
that where an oddity alone

draws scorn or pity, two enjoy
the station proper to a pair
a commonplace: the neighbors would
only gossip if just one were there.


The Art of Childbirth

After twelve hours back labor, after nitrous
oxide missed the mark, after the prick
of the epidural, after the surgeon passed

judgment: Caesar, if it isn’t quick.
When I couldn’t push more, when the scissors
caught the light a second before the trick

slice into my perineum, the ward sister
said Let’s get dis baby out da good
. At last, head rising like a blister,

Rebecca slithered, screaming, slick with blood
from my body, an epiphany.
What I’d thought just a vessel, the tender hood

inviting another’s gentle touchtoo many
symbols of passive receivingwasn’t a cup,
but the conduit for this transcendental journey.

And though the cramping didn’t simply stop,
it shrank into irrelevance. My child,
not breathing, somewhat blue, was lifted up

by her small ankles, slappedI think I smiled
at such constructive violence, and how
she gulped her former gills to lungs, then wailed.

They put her on my chest. I said Hello
because I’d known her long before we met.
When she latched on I felt the fluids flow

and as she fed I stared, holding my breath
at each exquisite tug. Much later on
she fell asleep, and I stood watch for Death

all night beside her crib. He dared not come.