Spring 2019, Volume 26

Poetry by Anne Babson

Hot Flash

It suddenly becomes too much living,
The boxes packed for rapture, too heavy.
The jowling face, a woman’s Turin shroud,
Emanates heat from within, bubbling
Out an image of the secret person

That stains the chipping cheerleader surface.
The skin’s smooth linen, woven herringbone,
Puckers and browns in stigmata blotches.
Unfolding it, we see the faint imprint of
The eternal things that escape the tomb

When the angel rolls back the stone and smiles
At younger women come to embalm me.
He sings “O death, where is your victory?”
Soon, I will be absent from this hollow,
My echo remaining in Word made flesh,

For I am what I write, not this gristle.
For now, I run to the freezer, grab ice,
Plunge a fistful into my red cleavage.
I fan myself with poems that need polish
Before I am flown away, oh glory!

Folktale of my Aging Face

The Irish peasant’s smirk emerges under
The skin of the young American
          Who has led the pampered life.  The
          Newcomer, my ancestress, a farmer’s

Daughter out of a County Cork dirty joke
Involving a traveling salesman, arrives
          Steerage-class on a line on my dry
          Forehead, parks herself on my chin as if

It were a three-legged stool.  Her broad cheeks are
Ruddy from the brisk wind off the north waters
          Over the peat moss into the barn
          Where these hands of hers, thick and calloused, grab

The cows’ teats at four a.m.  The female North
American, the one with the degrees, knows
          It’s milking time.  Watch the swaying, the
          Waning, and know the hour.  No amount of

Smoky eyeliner can hide that worry scar from
Video surveillance cameras in
          This reality TV show.  The
          Molly or Eileen or Kathy-Marie,

She is oblivious to all of the
New security measures taken, and
          She proceeds, without doubting herself,
          In her takeover, not a hostile one,

Only a good housekeeper’s firm keeping.  The
Beauty industry calls her apparition
          A result of free radicals – this
          Sounds about right – the radicals are most

Definitely freed in the tilling of my
Face, the breaking of the blood vessels around
          My nostrils, the fine weave of my skin
          In the loom of a prosperous nation

Changing brushed velvet made in the U.S.A.
To Euro-burlap fit to wrap the cheeses
          My ancestress plans on making here. 
          She is comfortable in this white-lace place,

And the Yank can do what she wants with the best
A free market can offer in this age of
          Dermatology – Erin Go Braugh,
          Erin Go Braugh – Saint Patrick tried to chase

Away the Celtic crones with the snakes, pushed one
Off a cliff, even, but still, just like the rocks
          In the brisk sea, this look is fixed in
          Millennia of DNA, and the

Irish eyes, ringed with crow’s feet, are smiling, and
New-world ingenuity notwithstanding,
          Mouths, flanked with weatherbeaten creases,
          Sing toora-loora-loora, toora lye

Into every American pore of
This landscape.  Erin Go Braugh, Erin Go Braugh,
          She sings toora loora and conquers
          Like Queen Neb.  Mna Na Heiran Go Braugh.



BIO: Anne Babson has written two books of poetry: Polite Occasions (Unsolicited Press, 2018) and The White Trash Pantheon (Vox Press, 2015), a chapbook, Dolly Shot (Dancing Girl Press, 2018) and a published play, entitled Reenactment. She wrote the libretto for Lotus Lives, an opera that has been performed in New York, Boston and Montreal. Her poems have been anthologized in both the US and the UK multiple times, most recently in Nasty Women Poets: an Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, 2017). She has been featured on Poetry Daily. Recent work has appeared in Iowa Review, Cider Press Review, Southampton Review, Bridges, Barrow Street, Connecticut Review, The Pikeville Review, Rio Grande Review, English Journal, New Song, The Penwood Review, Sow’s Ear, The Madison Review, Atlanta Review, Grasslands Review,WSQ, Global City Review, Comstock Review, California Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, The Red Rock Review, and many other publications. In Europe, her work has appeared in Current Accounts, Iota, Poetry Salzburg, Nth Position, Adelaide and Crannóg, and in Asia, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Yuan Yang, Coldnoon and Zabaan.