4 Poems by Anya Pearson

Early Memory of Writing

I am diligently

composing postcards. On the porch

of my father’s house. Postcards

that display the beauty

of the island. The waterfalls

in Ocho Rios. The white sand beaches

in Negril. Waiting for him

to come home. Patiently, at first,

then anxiously. Never knowing

how long he will be gone. Never knowing

how long she will leave me be.

I have come to hate

the words “soon come”

because I always believe him

and it is always a lie.


I am as precise

as possible, in describing the fun

I am having here in Jamaica.

Where I don’t belong.

How many mosquitoes bites I have on each arm,

(I count,

also for precision,

and for the need to fill the postcards

with as much detail as I can,

to avoid what I can not bring myself to say.)

There are actual coconut trees in his yard, Kate!

(It is called a yard here.)

 I am so sorry

that I will not be able to attend your Batmitzah.

I am ashamed

that I do not know the proper way to spell it,

or which kind she is having

because she is a girl, and not a boy,

and I am altogether disheartened

that I am not a Jewish scholar.


As many things as I can find

to write about,

as many ways as I can find to convince her

and myself

that all I see in Jamaica

is beauty.

Not locked rooms

or a stomach that burns

and cramps up from not being fed.


The funny way I try to relate

the time the water cut off while

I was still covered with soap.

Isn’t that hilarious, Kate?

The way I seem to always get tangled

in the mosquito net.

The way I want to reassure Kate

that I am okay.

That coconut trees and the best Bombay mangoes I have ever tasted are enough.




Drag sixty seconds inside the bus terminal

And exhale the next in Bangladesh

Surviving time travel

Is essential to the revolution

Visionaries eluding cardboard

By electing designer’s stilettos

to remain unique.

Always remember the importance of stature.

Napoleon’s complex ain’t taking me home tonight.

This mission requires expendability

Dark shades a minimum of 6’7’’

Vibrant hidden flowers

Secret admirers of 007

Hopelessly romanticizing the latest weather report

Completely devastated by the sun

Inhaling closed eyes

Underneath umbrellas in Libya

And waking in Scarsdale



The Accomplice

Like most girls, unwise and full-hearted –

I want to tell you a story.

still growing, and ripe with

yearning. My damn spirit

not rooted

in any real knowing.

Other than the miracle of pain.


Once, I believed

in miracles.

I was never afraid of Death. (Honest.)

I questioned his existence on several occasions.

Pain, I never questioned. I knew him, to be a truth, and a miracle.


He didn’t know how to look with respect.

The simple truth

of combat: a hollowed out stare

and dispensable affection.

I didn’t care – he smiled with an urgent debasement that sufficed.

I didn’t know much past expendable desire myself.

Deep swells of loneliness. And compromise, compromise, in asilhouette most rudimentary –

If I am with you – another body – I am less alone.

Without a self, just a fleeting floating entity, un-tethered.


in search of thatmiraculous feeling to mirror this amplified fallacy of pain.


Driving, while you direct me, through the streets

of East Oakland, looking, sweeping, canvassing

for Darkness

on a clear night, still silent, rehearsing muteness as a way of life.

By your side, an accomplice.

Driving through thestreets of East Oakland, looking sweeping canvassing scouring

for vengeance.


Once, I believed in miracles.

and I never questioned




I went to the senior prom with my best friend’s boyfriend’s best friend. Later, I discovered that he had a crush on me. Ideal for him, our date. My friend was prom queen which I thought was remarkable because she was fat and a teenage mother. I wore a homemade dress that looked nothing like the picture in the magazine. Hot pink satin, the cheap kind, with clunky heavy gold lace over the bodice. It was my fault for expecting more. We stayed at the prom for about an hour. Took pictures. Gossiped about what everyone else was wearing. At least fifteen dresses her mother had made. Including mine. At the hotel, he slept in his suit on top of the covers and I didn’t even notice. The next day everyone else went to Great America to ride the rollercoasters. We got up and went to Denny’s.


Anya Pearson is an actress, playwright, essayist, poet and proud mother. A graduate of the writing program at Marylhurst University, she is the author of the play, Made to Dance in Burning Buildings, a fusion of poetic text and violent and visceral contemporary dance, which poses the question how do we heal from trauma?


Photo:  alfredmoya via Flickr Creative Commons License

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