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Anastasia Vassos

Anastasia Vassos is the author of “Nike Adjusting Her Sandal “(Nixes Mate, 2021) and “Nostos” (Kelsay Books, 2023). Her poems appear in Thrush, RHINO, SWWIM, Comstock Review and elsewhere. A Best of the Net and Best New Poets 2021 finalist, she is a reader for Lily Poetry Review, speaks three languages, and is a long-distance cyclist. She lives in Boston. Twitter: @a_vassos Instagram: anastasiavassos

No need to tie me to the mast I can’t escape anyway

the children next door laugh
in play just to hear themselves
their feet pound earth

that’s how they run
their mother Dena on her porch negotiates on the phone
she’s a portfolio manager

another woman from two streets over
walks her pit bull wailing
like a wounded child

the pit bull not the woman
when he sees another mutt approach
from round the corner

someone floats bubbles
of quiet music
out their window

and between the breaks
an opera tenor practices scales
now two red cardinals on Vista Street

tsk tsk their love
the female a little rounder
and more sublimely gossamer

than the male’s razor shape
her red feathers the color of fading lipstick
and the wind bumps up against

Rick’s giant oak that I hope
doesn’t fall on my house
I remember how good it felt letting loose my lungs

when I was a child
and my friends and I played tag
how our squealing

led to more whoops and yells and that dog
barking triggered by children squawking
because every poem needs a barking dog

I wrote god instead of dog
it’s shaggy and white
and suddenly I see Dena’s hair

has just been washed
that’s why she wrapped it tight
in that white turban

her hair unleashed blinks in the sun
sparkles and chimes
and yes the wind’s blowing

I’m glad she’s not on speaker phone
I came out onto the porch to read and relax
the afternoon sun dusking the day

down the hill a siren reports someone about to be born
or someone about to die
a shift in frequency dimming waves of sound
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