Anne Leigh Parrish Writer

originally published January 1, 2018 in Volume 3, Issue 1 of MockingHeart Review



The white horse grays in the deluge
Beneath of the limbs of an evergreen
The red-handed woman waves me down

She wears no coat against the cold, her rubber sandals
Are what you slip on to fetch in the paper
Wrapped in blue plastic and cooled with morning dew

Her words, from scraped lips
Beg for a ride because her husband’s gone out, and
she must get back while there’s still time

I can’t let her in, can’t
Swallow this burden, even though I once
Stood in a bus line, dying to stay, needing to go

From the lover’s bed to the mother’s cage

Weeping in a swirl of snow
Until a gloved hand gripped mine
And reminded me to breathe

It’s freezing out here so

I’ll open the door and
drive her home, assuming there’s
One left to stand it

But she walks away, up the road
She’s fled down
So many times before

I, too, go back the way I came
past the grayed horse immune to sorrow
And to the fall of rain

Lying on Solid Ground

Only one road on this whole spit of land
Nothing straight about it
All those rounding curves,
So much dappled light
Isn’t that why we came?
With no concern for the sand beneath
Sure to slide when the big one hits
And where shall be then?
Under a desk
In the doorway
Praying for the walls to hold
Which of us will say it first?
That we needed a firmer place
To thirst, hunger, and lust
Away our given years
Maybe we’ll stash another jug of water
Another can of soup
For chasing dreams
That won’t be caught
And all the while this road
Bends and glides
Through shadow and light
The only way in, and the only way out



I think of sin as glancing blows
Nothing to shatter souls, rend skin,
Or crush the sleep of starless nights

I think of sin as the price of conscience
To call a deed wrong, a language of choice
Which puts reason over drive, mind over heart

But sin has nothing to do with minds
Only lust borne of rage, fed by hunger
For a hotter touch, different flesh

No better in the end, just as salty
Rough, scarred, caressed, and closely held
In the arch and thrash of overdue release

Sin is the weapon, bludgeon, and ax
Grinding down a love freely given
Before faith was broken, and trust destroyed