Spring 2016, Volume 20

Poetry by Doug Anderson

Poetry Reading

He looks like a bored child in church, longing to range
outside in the meadow, in the stream, anywhere but here
at this poetry reading to which his wife has flogged him.
Mind still raw from the board meeting, the backstabbing
the intrigue, the affair gone wrong sitting across the table
by the coffee urn and now here he is among people
who think this stuff is manna from heaven.  If I could only,
he thinks, sleep with my eyes open, smile in all the right places,
if only someone would pull the fire alarm, and so he slumps
in his chair and inhales the several perfumes of the tribe.
But one line, somewhere in the middle of the first poem
has him sitting up, his spine infused with light.  She said,
Finally we are together in the departure lounge,
sorting through our things, wondering what to take into
the dark, and our nakedness comes back to us whole,
and all we have loved spills out of the baggage at our feet.


—Originally in Volume 19, Fall 2015


BIO: Doug Anderson's first book of poems, The Moon Reflected Fire, won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and his second, Blues for Unemployed Secret Police, a grant from the Academy of American Poets. His memoir, Keep Your Head Down: Vietnam, the Sixties and a Journey of Self-Discovery, was published by W. W. Norton in 2009. He has received fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. His most recent book of poems is Horse Medicine, from Barrow Street Books. He has written critical work for the New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the London Times Literary Supplement. He is also a photographer and visual artist. He has taught in the MFA programs at the Pacific University of Oregon and Bennington College, and the English Departments of Smith College and the University of Massachusetts. He lives in Thorndike, Massachusetts.