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Featured Poet Anne Caston

Anne Caston’s voice combines folklore, fairytale, and myth in its sweet tug at your brain. At the center, like whipped cream curled inside dark chocolate, is a message, always, contemporary and true. And a secret whispered only to the reader. -Grace Cavalieri 

Suffering Visits Her Sister, Beauty

At first there is pleasant talk, meaningless

chatter, over a cup of strong tea. They move on 

to the troubled children they’ve raised, husbands 

growing ever-distant, how expensive everything has become, 

the small distractions of prayer, the unfathomable will of God.


Her sister suggests she might feel better

if she’d consider a life-style 

“lift” – just a tuck here and there.

Beauty is in the eye. . . her sister reminds her.

Though she adds it is important

to also have a beautiful soul.


She has heard it before: that

outrageous rubbish people say to a homely woman

who knows how she looks, a woman who knows by now 

that no beholder could ever see her, smart or not, because she is 

a woman whose crooked spine and plainness would render her 

invisible in any room her blue-eyed sister entered.


That she could see it happening.

That her sister could not.

And the difference between them, even now:

burnished and tarnished.


So the talk moves on 

to the recent election, the new president, 

his lovely young wife, what will change and for how long 

before the country sinks itself again 

into the some far-offwar. 


The tea is as it always is:  

Chamomile. Like this day: bitter, 

and served in a lovely, sky-blue cup.

Anne Caston lives with her husband, Ian Gallimore, in Anchorage, Alaska. She’s Formerly a nurse. She served as the 1996-97 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and as the 1999-2000 Jenny McKean Moore Fellow in Poetry at the George Washington University. She received a 1999 Individual Artist Award in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently, she’s core faculty in poetry in the Low-Residency M.F.A. Program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She’s author of Flying Out With The Wounded (NYU Press, 1997) Judah's Lion (THP, 2009), and Prodigal (Aldrich Press, 2014).