by Ann Pelletier

How to believe in life everlasting. The eternal. That the dead live.

That we will find them

behind an opaque curtain

wearing white

like Emily Dickinson. Sitting in high back chairs

like Whistler’s mother.


How to believe the doorbell will ring.
Or the envelope will appear
in the rusted mailbox half-hidden by vines.


Are we to assume we are essentially water balloons
with added nitrogen and silver amalgam dilute as
poolside cocktails served by white-clad staff?

That we are ladies and gentlemen
serving ladies and gentlemen?

That we who are one body of water can float
on a separate body of water?

That life is but a dream?


How to believe that we have always known what we cannot comprehend.

That we can abide or defy without consequence laws of creation or nature.

That if a train leaves the station with the roman numeraled clock
it will arrive at the station with the arabic numeraled clock.

Along the way cows graze beneath the Eat Beef sign.
Shirts hang upside down sleeves possessed with air.

The train slows. The train gathers speed.


That we are filled with light.

Light that apparently doesn’t extinguish when doused
with the water of which we are comprised.


To believe that we are a lighthouse pulsing with purpose in fog.

The man with the beard wearing the poncho made from a lawn and leaf bag.

The woman with the bird wing eyebrows standing on stilettos.

Like a waterfowl.

That we are the fried clams we crave.

That we are the one who fails the leap onto the train.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 15, Issue 1.

Ann Pelletier grew up in upstate New York, southern New Hampshire, and Madrid, Spain. Her first appearance in Cider Press Review was in 2007. Her poems have also been published or are forthcoming in The Antioch Review, Arts & Letters, Loonfeather, Volt, and other journals. Her manuscript was the Word Works 2012 Washington Prize Honorable Mention and a semi-finalist for the Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes. She divides her time between Lake Tahoe and Santa Cruz, California.

See all items about Ann Pelletier

Visit Ann Pelletier’s contributors page.

Leave a Reply