The Guns of Navarone, 1961


“It’s fifty years since I have felt alone,”

he said, and told the story of the day

he went to see The Guns of Navarone.


Before the days of text and mobile phone

you hand wrote letters when you were away

from loved ones, so they wouldn’t feel alone.


He’d written, but her answer hadn’t shown,

and so he thought, to keep his blues at bay,

he’d go and see The Guns of Navarone


a classic film, and one that’s still well-known.

He sat and watched the final credits play

and hadn’t ever felt quite so alone.


He walked back by the park, still on his own

and met his mum. He took great pains to say

how much he’d liked The Guns of Navarone


but was there now a letter back at home?

There was, and so he ran the rest of the way.

For fifty years he hasn’t felt alone.

Today he hears The Guns of Navarone.




Waiting for the Death Certificate


My father says it’s worse than waiting

to learn she was dead, and at first

I silently demur, adding the silent codicil


it depends where you were waiting—

at home, with sherry and my mother’s

best friend, or in hospital, waiting for her last breath,


but then, into the second day of waiting—

a pile-up of Easter Holiday deaths, her mad

tumble from bed awaiting the coroner’s nod—


I start to agree. I feel like I’m waiting

to return to life, to stop thinking

about death and its checklists.


The phone rings. It isn’t them. I’m waiting

to be able to remember the mother I knew,

not the frail ghost stuck with tubes, but the one


who wrote the notes we examine while we’re waiting—

£15 for Tony, call Dawn, email Peter,

Phoenix Club next Wed—give Val a ride.


My mother’s handwriting,

forever now waiting to remind her.



About the Author

Anna’s poems have appeared in the Harvard ReviewAtlanta ReviewRattle, American Arts Quarterly, and 32 Poems. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and is the Editor of the Raintown Review. Recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Artists’ Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and winner of the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Readers’ Choice Award, she currently teaches at West Windsor Art Center and Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Her new sonnet collection, Sisters & Courtesans, is available from White Violet Press.