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Featured Poet Ann Bracken

Some poets write to be loved; some write to be admired, others to make amends. Ann Bracken writes to find the truth in herself, and then the courage to say it. That she connects to the words so simply and powerfully becomes what we call beauty. How do we learn to let language tell the story. Some poets chase the melody; others hold the line. Ann finds the vulnerable and then dazzles us with it.
— Grace Cavalieri

Twenty-fifth Anniversary

“It’s been three days
and you haven’t kissed me,”
he says, lying in the king-sized bed.
“When are we going to have sex?”
He pounds his fist  
into the mattress

He wears red, silk boxers—
a costume of seduction.

I stand
at the foot of the bed
wearing a dress, a jacket, bra and panties,
arms folded across my chest.

He’s demanding it.

I hear the waves roll in
and whoosh almost in time
with the lazy blades of the ceiling fan.

I turn my back to him while
he dims the light,
waiting for me in the bed,
legs splayed in anticipation.

Just do it, I tell myself.
Pretend he’s someone else—
that man you still love from long ago.

Afterwards I am so nauseated
I can’t leave the room for hours.
I sip on a coke
wondering what’s wrong with me. 


Ann Bracken is the author of two collections of poetry, No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom (2017) and The Altar of Innocence (2015,)  both from NewAcademia/Scarith.  She’s deputy editor for Little Patuxent Review. Her poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in anthologies and journals, including Little Patuxent Review, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems, New Verse News, Reckless Writing Anthology: Emerging Poets of the 21st Century, and Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence among others. Ann’s poetry has had two nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She founded the Possibility Project, offering expressive arts and creativity workshops, and writing workshops in prisons and schools. She has two grown children and lives in Columbia, MD. www.annbrackenauthor.com

By Grace Cavalieri


Grace Cavalieri is founder and producer of “The Poet and the Poem “on public radio, now from the Library of Congress. She celebrates 40 years on-air in 2017. She’s has 18 books and chapbooks published, the latest is WITH (Somondoco Press, 2016.) Cavalieri has had 26 plays produced on American stages. Her newest play is “ANNA NICOLE: BLONDE GLORY.” The play is inspired by Anna Nicole: Poems, published by GOSS183/MENENDEZ PRESS. Her poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s “Verse Daily” and Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry.”  She is the managing poetry editor for PoetsArtists.

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