Poetry: Leaving by Anna Tomlinson

“Leaving” performs with delicate movements and lures the reader as a burglar from room to room, pockets filling with jewels. Anna Tomlinson’s work asks us how much of our want is our own, and how much of it we dare to keep.


Suddenly this: largeness
its own kind of clarity. Want,
a field I visit again and again,
daisies on the edge
of a desert, distant song.
In the dreams
I slip barefoot out the back door
over the wet lawn
as the thief walks
through the darkened house
to my parents’ room. There’s a word
for before the smoke.
These days brushed toward another ending,
a new city waiting
to take the small animal
of my body
and I wish to shape it, to have
a hundred black swallows
fall from my mouth. I wish
to own it, here, alone,
calling myself in
from the field, warning
it’s getting dark, it’s getting late.


Anna Tomlinson

Anna Tomlinson grew up on Sauvie Island, Oregon and now lives in Salt Lake City. She recently finished her MFA at the University of Virginia, where she taught poetry, first year writing, and summer transition classes. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Flyway, and minnesota review, among others.

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