A Journal

"I'm going to come back to West Virginia when this is over. There's something ancient and deeply-rooted in my soul. I like to think that I have left my ghost up one of those hollows, and I'll never really be able to leave for good until I find it. And I don't want to look for it, because I might find it and have to leave".----Breece D'J Pancake, in a letter to his mother. 

Anna Meister

Recently Uncovered


In her bedroom, we were very young. At the back of the small blue house, we played                           
some kind of pretend. She lived there until her parents split, everything split
down the middle, for sale sign in her yard of patchy grass. We were five or six.
She was my first friend. Even before you were born, our parents said. It was fall
outside her room. We were in the middle of some imaginary thing,
some scene with all the voices. I don’t know if she carried the box
in the room. Don’t know where I found it. She said it was a game. No pants allowed,
she said. There are always rules. One of us had to climb inside
the cardboard box with nothing on while the other called out Front or Back. 
That’s the side you had to shove up at the hole then, the hole
peeking into the box with the small smooth girl inside. I asked her
what she meant by Front & Back. & though I knew real names
for the places she touched, I stayed quiet like early morning. My stomach
all squirm & sink as I rolled tights down legs in that room. Beside the box
I stood, worried & wishing the doorknob would turn. I watched leaves shake
on the trees, the trees as if on fire. They all seemed so far away. Where was anyone?



I'm often finding & keeping & assigning emotional significance to a variety of small objects, but two things that feel important right now are a gold quarter & an old pencil nub (very sharp!). It's one of those wide, flat ones & has a bunch of phone numbers on it. I found these items within a week of each other during the process of moving from Iowa to New York last summer. I keep them in my wallet now. 

Anna Meister is author of the chapbook NOTHING GRANTED (forthcoming, dancing girl press) & holds an MFA in Poetry from New York University. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Offing, DIAGRAM, Kenyon Review, Vector Press, & elsewhere. Anna is the recipient of fellowships from NYU & the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.