Anna Teresa Slater

I Am Here

No – she squiggled
to boiled cabbage
to warm baths
to requests to
kiss prickly Uncle Ramon

No – she wailed
to flicking stones at the cat
to going to mass
to wearing the red
puffy dress to grandma’s
60th birthday bash

No – to her zero in Math
to the boy with his hand up her red skirt
to the crowd shouting yes
to the man with burning brows

No – to the chiseling in her chest
to the haunting moth flexing
its wings between larynx and gut
to the floor melting beneath her smoking feet

No – she still held
No – yet again to prickly Uncle Ramon

And she made the sign of the cross
And she took a warm bath

No – she still whispered
to parts of her past
No there still

On the Balcony

It is birdsong that draws me out:
……three or four sonatas in canon
………..looping in three or four sets

looping like a mother’s lullaby.
…..For whom do they play?
………Is it simply doting fowl?

Calls to conceive?
……….A challenge for fledglings
………… chirp first notes?

A calling back to the womb
………after banter between
…………..horizon and moon?

Or maybe
it is just birdsong looping
………through bamboo stalks.


Anna Teresa Slater is a high school literature and drama teacher from Iloilo, Philippines, and a postgraduate student in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Better Than Starbucks, The Fib Review, Shot Glass Journal, Poetica Review, Big Windows Review and Hedgehog Poetry Press. She is exploring fluidity of identity and rebellion as love in her writing. She lives on a farm with her husband, dog, and cat.

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