Your pain never
ends – you live
in the headache
and nerve damage
taking them on like
family and keeping
us at bay from the
full spectrum of
demise. The dust
settles in fine particles
that I never reach in
time to make a habit
out of cleaning. Inspired
in spurts – at everything
words, dust, theatre,
death – not what we had
imagined together – a life
built solid – out of desire
out of fire – the winter
cold fills me – another
storm gaining speed
from the west.


The Return of the Beloved

This is how you come
forthright – a phone call
always at 5 year intervals
and I can feel your heart
across the map, each state
arriving as we both remember
what it was like to know
the world inside the other
Now over 20 years
I know the silence too
the wait and the silvered
disappointment – each parting
another sorrowful adventure
and the truth we both
lived to discover – a list of what
we never did together
no beaches, no vacations,
no concerts, no ballet,
no flowers on a birthday,
no valentines, no gifts.
You said you didn’t think I was that kind of woman.
What could I do but laugh.
I see you still, young
handsome, feral lost in my kitchen
the only time I cooked a meal
for you – and how we both turned
at the same moment to discover
we had never felt this kind of love
before or happily
ever after.


Anne Elezabeth Pluto is Professor of Literature and Theatre at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, where she is the artistic director of the Oxford Street Players. She lived in Buffalo from 1976-1983, and received her doctorate in English from UB in 1988.

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