March, the Deceiver
by Anna Evans
Pre-storm. The dishcloth air blots
my flesh. I walk in to change the wrong
season’s coat, catch you ending a call.
Sweat collects between my breasts.
We are what we expect. This deceitful
month becomes your cell phone
and its pregnant call history.
Knowing your passwords, my fingers
hesitate over its keys and their secrets.
Unexpected gales roar. Yesterday
I painted my toenails, pulled on capris.
Spring, love, is capricious.
I empty your pants pockets,
check all your receipts and uncover
nothing. But your clothes
smell of perfume under your cologne.
By April we will recover—alone.
by Anna Evans
My grandmother replaced the ornaments
on the mantelpiece after each dusting:
the china bust of Prince Edward
at an exact angle to the heart-shaped
sterling silver snuff box, the two
Wedgwood dishes barely touching.
She always told me
to keep my sticky fingers to myself.
This ancient order lasted decades,
each relationship continuing
without question, even after the china
cracked and she glued it back,
after she polished the tarnished silver,
again and again. Sometimes it is impossible
to imagine how things can be different,
until one day a death. My aunt
took Prince Edward,
my mother the Wedgwood.
I don’t know who got the snuff box,
but by now I am the only person
who can re-envisage the arrangement
they held for so long, like a love
that broke a long time ago,
its heart-shaped mark left in the dust.
by Anna Evans
He looks for her bedroom
light by which to navigate,
but even if she were alone,
he would see in the mattress
the impression of her husband’s bones.
At last he understands how
his own wife vanished: by degrees.
Thinner explanations divided
broader absences until she rotated
half circle, into another man’s bed.
He was lost then,
and will not retrieve himself
by blindfolding a man he likes,
turning him three times round
and stealing his wife.
But she stands too long
at the window again, before the blinds
fold over her silhouette.
Across the street he wanders
dark waters, in a boat without oars.
Anna Evans is a British citizen but permanent resident of New Jersey,
where she is raising two daughters. She has had over 100 poems
published in journals including The Formalist, The Evansville Review,
Measure, and e-zines such as Verse Libre Quarterly. She has been
nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize and was a finalist for the 2005
Howard Nemerov sonnet award. Evans is editor of the formal poetry
e-zine The Barefoot Muse and is currently enrolled in the Bennington
College MFA Program. Her first chapbook, Swimming, was published
in March 2006 by Maverick Duck Press.
On “Still Life with Snuff Box”:
Like several of my poems, “Still Life with Snuff Box” was inspired
by a strong visual impression: the precise order of objects arranged
on the mantelpiece of my grandparents’ home when I was a child in
England. It occurred to me that these objects could represent the
love I had for my grandmother, especially, in more ways than one.
I have tried to commemorate that in this poem, while at the same
time saying something more generally applicable about time and loss.
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 2, Number 1
Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors
Still Life with Snuff Box
Men and Wives