Anne Leigh Parrish


that promising day


i wore my hair down and you slipped on red shoes
the cabinet held the chipped plate
the drawer forgave the bent tines in our
mismatched forks 

behind the house, in the shade of the big-leaf maple
the river sang to the sapphire jays
darting to the hazelnut tree 

listen, you said, the river sings for us, too
i strained, but nothing came through 

you offered to teach me the tune and
i just couldn’t learn 

no ear, i said
your disappointment was quiet, clear 

all this talk of singing poured through me
opening one door after another 

until the center was met

the notes fell from my mouth like a pearl plucked
from an oyster, or so you said later
when things were hard and we wrapped ourselves
in the memory of that promising day 



no matter


even in the timeless hours, seconds pass
nothing stops, nothing rests
dreams open & close like gentle hands
which in anger turn to fists
battering flesh & stone
sometimes there are screams,
a sigh, the occasional sob
sleep is not death’s rehearsal
just the brain taking a break from
rational thought
the dreams borne of fear are
those lifted by desire leave one
& regret fuels the most fitful sleep—
whatever the dream, or
its velvety depth, the first question
on waking is always why,
no matter how i hoped, prayed &
begged whatever rules your heart,
you didn’t love me




our myths


there is no time in dreams
everything swims
in the murk of now 

trapped, or held safe?
whichever—neither or both
it’s only for a moment 

it all keeps moving 

sea glass is an emerald
the old woman is girl again
the dog fells the rabbit
i touch your heart 

reason returns when eyes open

and we write our myths
out of what has left us






backlit clouds suggest a silver shade
like spilled mercury
or the cast of a daguerreotype
in the hands of mathew brady 

drifting in an unknown sky

is it loved for its closeness to white
or because it’s nothing like it? 

you carry your heart in your shoe
i carry mine in my hand 

yet we both adore the smell of rain

a white-gold band is silver in some light
the promise it stands for shifts, too 

passion becomes patience
close to love, yet something
else, entirely




in her blindness

in her blindness she quiets,
pulls from silence
a sigh, blink, heartbeat 

in the now-gone light she gathers
blackness below the collar bone
a warm inky pool to float in 

color & the stab of sunlight
recalled, vistas dreamed, faces
conjured from love, though
need no longer rends 

blindness, her best company now,
sends her along, neither seeking
nor blessed 

space is black, too
& she’s closer to the universe
than when she could see 

the stars—all those passions
still alive in her bones
where forever resides





Award-winning writer Anne Leigh Parrish has two new titles coming from Unsolicited Press: the moon won’t be dared, a poetry collection, October 2021; and an open door, a novel, October 2022. Her latest novel, a winter night, released in March 2021 from Unsolicited Press, is the most recent installment in her popular Dugan Family story. She is the author of nine other books and lives in the South Sound Region of Washington State. Find her online at her website, Twitter, Facebook, Medium, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.