Anne Elezabeth Pluto

Mona Lisa


Why, there you are again, hair slicked back
in hideous middle age, merlot glass on the
table, fiancée next to you, perpetually tan
her double strand of pearls resting on her chest
pushed high up, cleavage visible, dyed auburn hair
on shoulders, she was once a beautiful woman with
a famous sitcom father who beat them all, her blonde daughter
with arched eyebrows smiles, enigmatic as the mona lisa, but
not you or her mother who have had practice before the camera.



Thou shalt not commit adultery
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife

not your wife
but you, do I covet, your dark heart
full of dreaming
responsibility calls you backwards
to the child, the expensive
house in an affluent suburb
your wife doesn’t work
I covet you
I dream you
in my heart
in my arms
in my bed

it takes six months
you never waited so long
for consummation of any kind
I am yours
for the pain
yours for the pleasure
yours for the night

out of bed we dress
warmly and follow the stars
boots cracking ice beneath our feet
it is almost my birthday
and you don’t want me to leave
spend the night, you whisper when we are done
but I have planned it differently
I need to sleep in my own bed.


The Deepest Part of Dark

For CR


My first love came
last night in the deepest
part of dark to welcome
me with open heart
and spoke of visits
yet to make, Capri
Sardinia and Calabria
the naval view
behind his tour
now we talked
of time abridged
the decades
flipping fast from
where he first set sail
lost even then I stood
without redemption
with no amends
my first love came
once to whisper sad goodbye
his death called me
to put a hold on time.
We never made it
back tonight the visit
lost our city lived on
no bitter photo
left to share, together
Capri, Sardinia, Calabria
we never made it there.


Bride Green

For Ahmad Shah Masoud


For you
there is a green
dome – a shrine
of a grave
site – the mountains
where you once were the lion
and escaped death invite
the strong and the damned
to visit – to leave a stone
to say a prayer
and to believe
God is
Most merciful
and compassionate.

A decade in your shadow
he lived – who planned
your death – a television
set – packed deep with
shrapnel and journalists
with fake Belgian
to ignite the bomb
and you wanted
the world you were
not a part of – to know
that you were good
followed the prophet.
on a horse
that took you
to heaven.

He is dead now
finally arrived
shot in the face
the chest – where

you too burned from
ignition – he was hiding
in the country you so
hated – where no one
could be
trusted – he is dead
taken quickly – betrayed
washed by his enemies
wrapped in a shroud
in a bag weighed down
with stones – verses read
from the Holy Book
The word of God
then dropped into
the Arabian sea – engulfed
by the tide to sink
to sink
to be eaten by the fishes
not multiplying into loaves
no miracle – no trace
no bride green shrine
to hold his bones.

It is over.
It is over.



Towards the Solstice


The sun fades
early in the east
we turn on lights
and cook our dinner
in muted colors birds
sing less frequently
now as the darkness
rapidly arrives dusk
at 6:30 night and moon
and dream by 8:00 the
cicadas beating their wings
in unison from the highest trees.




Anne Elezabeth Pluto is Professor of Literature and Theatre at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA where she started Commonthought Magazine and is the artistic director of the Oxford Street Players. Her chapbook, The Frog Princess, was published by White Pine Press. Publications include Pirene’s Fountain, and The Enchanting Verses Literary Review.

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