August 16, 2018

Anna M. Evans

CRASH

Accident weather: sheet rain, relentless spray
thrown up from tires, the road a slippery gray
in which car headlights shimmer like fish scales,
while drowning houses blink through damp green veils.

And I take care now; I take so much care
to feed the wheel through fingers, prayer by prayer
for all the travelers cased in treacherous metal,
sweating the wet commute with foot to pedal,

because a month ago in strobe light sun
on a road scrubbed clean and dried, I killed someone,
though I was not, no, I was not to blame.
He did not see me turning left. He came

hurtling up on his black sclerite bike.
Perhaps he screamed before I felt the strike
of his helmet on the rear door of the van.
I do not know. I heard nothing. The man

and bike slid, unredeemable, to the ground.
Then the bright crowd gathered, mouths in round
o’s of melodrama. The police said he
was riding too fast. It wasn’t me. Not me.

I saw his body, whole as if asleep
upon the asphalt, bike a yard sale heap.
So little blood! Death in a sky blue cloak,
arriving like the punch line of a joke

I didn’t quite get.
Now, in the wind and rain,
with that comic, Death, stalking the wings again,
it won’t be my fault. (It wasn’t.) These days I drive
with so much care, the man would have to live.

fromRattle #30, Winter 2008

__________

Anna M. Evans: “‘Crash’ epitomizes the relationship between poetry and truth. Whenever I read it, people approach me afterwards to ask if it is a true story. ‘Does it feel like I true story?’ I ask in return. ‘Because if it does, then it is as true as it needs to be.’” (web)

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October 21, 2016

Anna M. Evans

THE ADJUNCT’S VILLANELLE

You just come in and teach, then you can go,
she says, distracted by her tenure file.
I wish someone would tell my students so.

From there I leave to meet with one who’s slow
to understand the work. It takes a while
to teach him what he needs. Then, I can go.

Another texts: the fetus didn’t grow.
She’s on bed rest for weeks. Can I compile
the work she’ll miss? I can, and tell her so.

Two student emails wait: one’s in a show
and really wants me there. Good kid. I smile
and write back saying I’ll be thrilled to go.

The second wants a reference. Just say no,
I’m told. I could, but cannot reconcile
this with the student I remember. So,

the one whose mom died doesn’t need to know
my story, how I have to swallow bile
when I hear how I come, and teach, and go.
I don’t. I wish someone would tell them so.

from Rattle #53, Fall 2016
Tribute to Adjuncts

[download audio]

__________

Anna M. Evans: “Although this poem is the first and only I have so far written to address the subject of my work as an adjunct professor at Stockton University directly, my job affects my poetry in subtle ways. I have become a crusader for social injustice and that is a thread that runs through my poems. I also see social media as the battleground in which these issues will play out and have worked hard to understand it.” (website)

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October 12, 2015

Anna M. Evans

THE NON-EUCLIDEAN UNIVERSE

A line that looks dead straight can be an arc
like the horizon when you’re out at sea.
True distance is deceptive: in the dark

it can’t be measured. Yes, you made a mark
or two, in fact, but you can barely see.
A line that should be straight becomes an arc,

the path that’s traveled by a welder’s spark
when danger’s just a matter of degree.
Since distance can’t be measured in the dark

most people turn the light on. And the stark
divisions blind them with geometry.
A line that isn’t straight is called an arc—

no! Think outside the box! Perhaps a quark
moves like a knight in chess, a hop-two-three.
(True distance is deceptive.) In the dark

all rules break down completely. What a lark!
The future’s coming at you in 4D.
A line that should be straight looks like an arc.
True distance can deceive you in the dark.

from Rattle #49, Fall 2015
Tribute to Scientists

__________

Anna M. Evans: “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (known as England), I acquired a master’s in chemical engineering. I have spent the last 25 years trying to escape it, moving continents and gaining a further master’s in creative writing, but it still resurfaces thematically in my poems. It is also arguably one of the reasons I mainly write in form (number patterns!) and is definitely why I am currently teaching a quirky undergraduate course entitled ‘Poetry & Math.’” (website)

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