Saint Anna

by Rebecca Valley

Anna is sleeping again.
The dog hunts moths, who come in
through the window. Their wings are
fat and white. The dog takes them into her mouth
so they crawl down her tongue to build homes
where it's warm and wet.

Hush. Anna is sleeping. She barely moves.
She is hardly breathing. A long time ago,
I mean lifetimes, she was a mother.
She held her daughter in her hands.
The girl was blue and screaming.
Anna asked her softly for her name.

Anna looks holy. Saint Anna.
Patron of lace-makers, of carpenters, of
lost things. Anna, who dreams now
the disparate threads of a tapestry.
The dog hiccups a pair of still-living wings.

Because it is summer, Anna can finally sleep.
Remember when many years ago
Anna put her whole body in the ocean.
It was perhaps another life altogether,
I was only a bird then, watching
from the shore. It was the cold
North Atlantic. It was the closest thing
to a baptism. Her skin turned blue
and gold.

Now the dog runs on the shore,
lapping up crustaceans. She builds another
world inside her body. Anna is floating
in her previous histories. She is tethered
by her name to the sand.


Originally from St. Albans, VT, Rebecca Valley currently attends The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA as a student of comparative literature and history. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Quarterly and These Fragile Lilacs Poetry Journal, and in sound on Vermont Public Radio. In her free time she enjoys flea markets, podcasts, and baking bread. She shares photos and feelings at

web design © mitchell hart