poem index


Ann Townsend

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Ann Townsend

Ann Townsend is the author of Dear Delinquent (Sarabande Books, 2019) andThe Coronary Garden (Sarabande Books, 2005). She is the co-founder of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and serves as the director of creative writing at Denison University. 

by this poet

The Junior Minister waved a hand
                          toward the courtyard where, he said,

                                       Goering’s private lion used to live.

                         With him we climbed Parliament’s steps,

walls pockmarked still with bullet holes. 
                         In the
Despair needles you with its whisper,
it is agnostic, it believes in irony,
like a fly’s buzz it is perceptions, a busy

blood clot that says alive, alive.

I’m not the stopped motion, the straight line out.
Your garlands are "convivial, festival, sacrificial,
nuptual, honorary, funebrial."

That spring, when we

New York Public Library, Edna St. Vincent Millay archives

Because Norma saved even the grocery lists,
              it was no surprise to find a lock of hair

                            coiled and glued loosely into the scrapbook,
crimped and rusty, more weird

and alive than any