Anne Leigh Parrish Writer

originally published in Issue 1 of Crow Literary Journal, Summer 2018






earth’s love is stronger than sky’s

paling the starlight, blanking the moon

damp soil, arched ferns, and the mossed limbs of nurse logs

swallow the gears of thought


branches drip from last night’s rain

all is wet and soft

living silk slides, slips, holds fast at last

purged of anything divine


this is the realm of hunger and lust

the feeder of flesh and bone

feet fall on stone and root, eyes lift, hands reach

a fiery soul is born





lichen doesn’t cling to rock, it complicates the stone

moss drapes every inch of tree, not just the branch alone


the marsh can’t quiver from a single bird before the flock takes flight


clouds don’t drift over sodden fields, but hold, release, and drench


those who thirst for Northwest rain, and revel in the quench





the eye she lost rolled up on the beach

she knew it from its wink

and the blue iris, flecked with black

was so sweetly familiar

from hours she spent staring in the mirror

hungry to know how

another would see her

which is why the eye left in the first place

though it didn’t say so at the time and wouldn’t say so now –

the remaining  eye wept with joy at the return of its mate

the missing eye didn’t

it longed too much for the sea

all those eddies and currents

creatures that glowed, plants that swirled, the chiseled

elegance of a coral reef –

back on dry land it closed against the shock of sunlight

and refused to open until darkness fell

turning her into a child of the night

who lived on moonlight and cold sparkle of stars

shadowed and murky

pale, wasted, invisible, and alone

cursed by the whim of her wandering eye





Palm trees sway in the breeze

Hearts flatten again the gale of deceit

Why expect truth?

Truth is relative

There is my truth

Then, there is your truth

Absolutes blur

Edges turn soft

Like the line of my jaw

The wafered trunk is a miracle of strength

Against the quickening wind

Graceful, resolute

Withstanding any cruelty, any blow, any offense, any slight

You once could, too

But no more





I say I don’t like being alive and

She says, you’re making

God mad


She’s a little stupid, this girl

Adopted by old parents

With a boring pleasant house

Whose dusty sun porch

Looks benignly on the snowbound lawn


I say, what if everything you dream was

Dreamed before by someone who died long ago?

And your sleeping brain is like a magnet

Drawing down all that sticky blue-green hunger?


She has no idea what I mean, so

We play with tiny pink tea cups,

Make the sound of liquid being poured

And might become good friends


If only she knew cold hearts the way I do

Or the slap of hands

Or fear

But she doesn’t


I ask, so how does God pay us back?

And she says, for what?

I think hard, then say,

For never wanting to be born





Let’s call it a study in detachment

Gradual drift from passion to prayer


Then even that loses strength


We grow quiet, soft, and slow,

Joyous in the face of this timely decay


We’ve given so much, we’re ready now

To hold a little back from this

Riot of shifting light we know


As life