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Anna Journey is the author of Vulgar Remedies: Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).

Stones in the Air

Anna Journey
     The cracking sound above the Freud sisters
is the royal guard shooting black clouds
     brimming with hailstones over the Thames.

From the terrace, Anna taps the glowing throat
     of a cigarette into her father's skull
he saved from medical school. We are all

     emptied, she thinks. Salvador is late
and has been for two years
     painting double images—swans,

so unlike hailstones over the water. Ice
     stirring the bottom to the surface.
Sophie folds newspaper into origami

     birds to float in the melted crook
of her highball. The cut crystal fragments
     The Times, tickets to the Ballet Russe,

pictures of trombones, into Braque's collage.
     She watches each headline becoming
part of a floating body, blending the ink

     in to skin: "The Rookpund Lake
Skeletons"—600 found by a park ranger—
     carbon date back to the 12th century.

How it took seven centuries to find them
     broken around a remote lake
in the Himalayas. Their deaths

     misdiagnosed—as doctors will do—
landslide, ambush, epidemic. Scooped
     from ice, each skull with the same

fracture. Sudden hailstorm—stones
     as big as cricket balls in the flayed
valley. No cover. Sophie snatches

     the page, turns it into a hat
for Lola barking at cannon shots
     softer than thunder. Patting the dog

near the ashtray, Anna wonders whether
     the animals fled and no one noticed
before the storm, smelling the stones in the air.

Copyright © 2009 by Anna Journey. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Anna Journey

Anna Journey is the author of Vulgar Remedies: Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2013).

by this poet


My parents come from a place where all the houses stop
at one story

for the heat. Where every porch—front
and back—simmers in black screens that sieve

mosquitoes from our blood. Where everyone knows
there’s only one kind of tea:

served sweet. The first time my father