Sandra Anfang 2019

Sandra Anfang

Sandra Anfang is a poet, teacher, and visual artist. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including San Francisco Peace and Hope, Unbroken Literary Journal, Rattle, and Spillway. Her chapbook, Looking Glass Heart, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016. Road Worrier: Poems of the Inner and Outer Landscape (Finishing Line Press, 2018) followed. A full-length collection, Xylem Highway, was released in March, 2019 from Main Street Rag. Sandra was nominated for a Best Short Fictions award and a Pushcart Prize. She is founder of the monthly series, Rivertown Poets, in Petaluma, California, and a California Poet/Teacher in the Schools. To write, for her, is to breathe.

May Madness

Hooded Orioles shriek in the trees.
Over the fence, my ninety-year-old neighbor
fills a cylinder with fabric scraps
a three-foot drum with seed.

What drama’s unfolding here—
jealousy over a handsome suitor
a contest of beaks and talons—
communal clash against a common foe?

I water the nascent sunflower sprouts
shoot my digger cat the evil eye;
tiny leaves like deer heads poke up
in striped-seed helmets.

Wild strawberries carpet the rose beds
first ones in seven years.
I stop to browse—
bow to the goddess of rain.

The stump we cut two years ago
sports a white mustache
feathered fungi
fringed like a buckskin vest.

Box-elder beetles crowd the path
seep from crevices and rocks
art deco bugs that make me smile
abuzz with the work of procreation.

Oh, to die in the wild garden
where tri-colored roses link arm to arm
absorbed by their chaotic lives
heedless of the hands that tend them.

Six Concrete Things Before Breakfast

The study fills with pale gray light
culled by mourning doves
from the thatch of fog
that fills the mountain’s cleft.

Solitude unspools,
fills the silence like creek-flow
the old tabby twitches in sleep, pretzels
the piston of her body.

The black one climbs my leg again
pleads for wet food
turns tail on the brimming bowl
signs a question mark in the air.

Maybe it’s attention she craves
the shadow child
in the orphanage
who trails me everywhere.

I scoop them up—one in each hand
pull them into my lap
careful to keep some distance
lest a war of teeth and claws erupt.

I slide back to the innocent years
when the world was new
each day a bowl of slip
my fingers forming fresh clay

the baby patrolling the kitchen floor
in beige pumps
stolen from my closet
the opulence of his nakedness.

Yellow light fills the room
like a picture-book sun.
I can almost make out
smiling eyes, an upturned mouth

a rumor of church bells
sieving through the chorus of
red-wings floating up from the yard
ushers at heaven’s gate.