Ann Howells

College students swill beer; businessmen close deals.
Restauranteers push Angus burgers; tourists just gape.
Rich people might be okay, she thinks, in their place.
She says a thousand little swear words under her breath.
She spends every minute wanting to be someone else.
Her life story? Read Cinderella, with a hint of Faust.
She is her father’s daughter: clever and resourceful.
She is her mother’s daughter: high-strung and gullible.
In the hood, fear is muscle and fury an endless fuel.
She heeds the goblins chittering outside her door.
She peers at a large white rabbit on the next stool.
He twitches his nose, checks a gold pocket watch.
This kind of revelation might drive one to suicide.
But much is missed by cloth-ears, flannel-tongues.
She knows she’s gullible, but doesn’t know how to stop.
She’s gone from adolescence straight into menopause.
She drags history behind her like a long bridal veil.
Men with beer guts and tattoos find her attractive.
Cherries. Bar. Lemon. —Orange. Cherries. Plum.
Holding her breath, she awaits three of a kind.


ANN HOWELLS's poetry appears in Borderlands, Concho River Review, Crannog (Ire), RiverSedge, and Spillway among others. She serves on the board of Dallas Poets Community, 501-c-3 non-profit, and has edited Illya’s Honey since 1999, recently taking it digital (www.IllyasHoney.com) and taking on a co-editor. In 2001, she was named a “Distinguished Poet of Dallas” by the city. Her chapbooks are, Black Crow in Flight, (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2007) and the Rosebud Diaries (Willet Press, 2012). She has been read on NPR, interviewed on Writers Around Annapolis television, and been four times nominated for a Pushcart, twice in 2014. Her first book, a collection of Texas poems illustrated by Dallas artist, Darrell Kirkley, and entitled Under a Lone Star, will be released by Village Books Press early in 2016.