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My first short story was written on brown paper using a second-hand Underwood typewriter I picked up at an antiques store. I felt so writerly, perched on my stool at my kitchen counter, banging away. My husband was studying for the bar exam, and had trouble concentrating with the noise I made. Luckily for him I wrote in spurts, lasting no more than fifteen minutes at a time. Then I’d get up and wander off, overwhelmed with doubt and a growing sense that I had no idea what I was trying to say and why it mattered.

I persisted. “Among…

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originally published in the Fall/Winter 2020 issue of South 85 Journal. Awarded First Runner-up in the 2020 Julia Peterkin Literary Prize for Poetry

the first corner to lift was the dining room

where candles were lit, wine sipped

plans made, tears shed, voices raised,

more than one plate thrown down

for the pleasure of watching it break

could rain do that, they asked?

flood a basement, sure

sneak in under a loose roof shingle

drip from the ceiling into the pot

one of them finally got up to put in place

saying for god’s sake, enough is enough!

next came…

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photo by FlamingPumpkin on iStock

A poem from my forthcoming collection, the moon…

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Writing is a private affair. One mind, one hand holding a pen; or two hands hovering over a keyboard. It’s almost always carried out alone. And when the pages are written, then what? This is a key question because it defines a crucial divide between writers who write for publication and writers who write just for themselves.

Writing for yourself is fine. We all write for ourselves first, really. If we don’t love our words, no one else will, either. There’s nothing wrong with being your own unique audience. Maybe you’re not ready to share. …

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Title story from my forthcoming collection

On Monday, it’s about a horse. The eyes are remarkably kind, shy, even flirty under their thick veil of lashes. She looks at Nell from the side, sticking her large soft muzzle over the fence to nudge at her outstretched hand. That hand is empty — no sugar cube, apple, carrot, only the palm lines waiting for the mystic to decipher, dampened with sweat. The horse enjoys the salt of that sweat and licks it all away with one leisurely pass of its velvety tongue. Nell swoons with delight.

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I went in for an operation
Can’t wait any longer, they said
Just has to come out

Logic whispered in my fevered ear even as
Terror turned the walls white
I yielded to an equation

my body = their agenda = my best interests

I was taken and spoken nicely to
That’s their job, after all
This passing kindness

I was soothed while the needle was given
To relax me and prepare me for the excision
I kept telling her, the one in white
How scared I was

Just as I accepted this fate, eased into it News came that…

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What if my dystopia is your heaven, my utopia your hell?

We’re not on the same page, darling

May I still call you that?

You said it could never happen here

Isn’t that what the Germans said of Hitler?

Where did they think his anti-semantic rants would lead?

Darling, I know in your heart the idea has some appeal

Men hate it when women say no

The President is accused of rape, and his party says, So what?

Why wield the hammer, why wield at all?

Just lie on the warm grass with me, revel in the sun

As you…

Anne Leigh Parrish

Writer & Poet. Find me at

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