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[Poetry] Two Poems by Anne Rankin

A Lack of Stars


With its head hung over

the road, the street lamp sputters

a blue-white light, muttering

some sort of apology

into the semi-darkness. Above,

the city lights hold the cosmos

in check.


Only a handful of stars can hope

to glitter in the eternal space,

a few grains of salt tossed

up towards the moon, who,

as usual, has no say in the matter.

As the cars creep along

in the hour they call rush,

remnants of things once cherished

gaze up from the gutter

into the wishless sky, wondering

who has gone

and put the Milky Way to sleep.



Morning Dog

   for Ozzie, of course


In bed, the dog and I

are gerrymandered

across the mattress

arms and legs splayed

attached hip to hip

part of me hung over the edge

his comfort my only concern.


Awake far earlier than I wish,

soon we’ll rise

and make our way outside

to catch the moon

waning and gibbous,

its white face flung over

an arching scrub pine preaching

to the western sky.

We’ll watch the sun yawning

in the east, crows launching

their morning hellos over

and beyond all our troubles.

I’ll stumble my way on an uneven path,

my wrist bobbing along with his leash,

tired and worn down

by too much to mention.


But in this moment, as I listen

for the rise and fall of his breath

in a bed too small for a yellow Lab

who needs to stretch as much

as he needs me near,

I’m learning how to pray

in the church of the Now.



Anne Rankin's poems have appeared in The Healing Muse, Hole in the Head Review, Passager, Scapegoat Review, MacQueen's Quinterly, Atlanta Review, Comstock Review, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. Her poem "Small Primer on Loneliness" received Honorable Mention at the Belfast Poetry Festival 2021.


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