Anna Mebel lives in Portland, Oregon (USA). She has an MFA in
poetry from Syracuse University and is the author of the chapbook
Eradicate Sex Chemicals! (dancing girl press). Her writing has
appeared in The Journal, Ghost Proposal, Pinwheel, and elsewhere.


The answers to the day's crossword
were leave & loss & postdoc.
But wait—not leave

the correct word was elude.
The harder the crossword,
the more meaning I found.

Equating difficulty with meaning
has always been a fallacy of mine.
I told you it was okay to leave me

sad, I found the sadness useful.
As if this was my choice.
The same way all that rain

on the day you left was also
my aesthetic decision,
a way to heighten the moment

on the park bench, sitting and talking
but barely touching. We were
eluding true meaning

together, but in the rain the pines
smelled fresh and the plum pants I wore
darkened to wine.

My Mother's Advice on Keeping Away Bad Luck

The three things that bring bad luck
are unpaired socks, stopped watches, and I forget
the third. The third is most important.

The Princess of Animals Invents Loneliness

Before, she imagined herself in the center of a meadow,
surrounded by obedient fawns and foxes,
the princess of animals. But even then,
her best summer moments she spent
with a boy, lighting a torch in the sand,
fingers smelling like wax for the rest of the night.
Being unsatisfied alone she called boredom.

Loneliness was something else. She came close
during a summer thunderstorm,
when she couldn't fall asleep on a train,
but it was, later, in bed with a man
who radiated warmth at the end of a long winter,
that she invented loneliness. She doesn't give the man
any credit for this. She's a feminist.

Now, she keeps finding new varieties of it, like the loneliness
of stepping on broken pieces of glass on the carpet
from that drink she broke and spilled
three months ago, and the loneliness of knowing
there's more snow under the snow.

Lantern Festival

For years the only foreign country
I wanted to visit was a new relationship.
When I was child, my family lived in Taipei.
Dad took me to the Lantern Festival.
I sat on his shoulders, tired from all the walking,
and watched hundreds of lanterns float up
into the night sky. I don't actually remember this.
I Googled the pictures knowing I had gone
twenty years ago. We lived through
a magnitude-seven earthquake.
My parents described it as being rocked
on a small boat in the ocean.
I don't remember it either. I just remember
the weeks of no school and no TV.
Being aboard was being a stranger.
I don't want to be a stranger in my own life,
but maybe it's time to travel to Morocco,
buy a scarf the color of sunsets in Tangier.
Not like finding love and making a home
has been coming naturally.
I live in Oregon now. It's due
for an enormous earthquake.

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