Notes To Myself

When you are an American in a Middle Eastern country,

do not walk alone;

your bare arms will betray you,

your sandals become stone.

 

Walk lightly;

the shadows behind you are not yours.

Anyone can change in the blink of an eye.

 

When in another country,

do not fall in love with a countryman.

It is your children who will love you least:

your sons who watch you with knives.

 

When you travel by bus through the mountains,

the roads seem always upward;

only the brightness of children pulls you along.

 

When I tell you this,

I am shaking the travel dust from my body;

I know it is the edge where you thrive.

 

Do not go there, just as I have done.

Even in my own country,

it is the past I live on.

 

 

When Water Leaves Us

What fool marches upward for streams,

thirst made from the dimmest of dreams?

They labored up the small hill,

buckets knee-high:

Jack, shirtless and chilled,

Jill, narrow and strong.

 

The well was cracked and dry.

Vines ran through the stone and earth;

famished roots mined deeper into the ground.

The lad tumbled down,

the lass soon after.

 

They lay in the shadow of the sky,

their bodies made of clouds and doubt.

They were young enough for hope.

 

The buckets stood on top of the hill—

an empty sound.

Who knows the secrets of rain

from a make-believe sky?

Who knows when they will fall again?

 

by Ann Robinson

 

Ann Robinson’s work is forthcoming or has appeared in American Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Coachella Review, Chagrin River Review, Compass Rose, Connecticut Review, Crack the Spine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, The GW Review, Fourteen Hills, Freshwater, Hiram Poetry Review, Inscape, Jelly Bucket, Natural Bridge, New York Quarterly, Nimrod International Journal, Passager, Poet Lore, The Portland Review, RiverSedge, Sanskrit, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Serving House Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, Storyscape, Streetlight Magazine, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Weave Magazine, Whistling Shade, Willow Review, and Zone 3, among others. Her book of poetry, Stone Window, was published by Bark for Me Publications in 2014.  She has been the recipient of the John Spaemer Award for Outstanding Fiction, a Marin Arts Council grant, a Pushcart nomination, and a scholarship to study at a Hofstra University conference.

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