Anne Elezabeth Pluto

Dementia Sonnet


Your mother thinks her sons are dead
but your older brother is getting ready
to rob the Bank of Texas – and you
have to save him before it happens – so
pull on your dead clothes, your Tony
Lama boots, grab that Winchester
and get him back – ride hard and fast:
pickup truck, pony express, 50 Mule
Team Borax long – you’d better make
up for lost time – good riddance
to bad feelings – just HURRY up – before he dies
shot through the heart by that sheriff – and
the dollar bills billow up across the
sand hot cap rock streets of Lubbock.



Green May


Copps Hill Burying Ground
10,00 thick bone stacked upon bone
to build the city – British
lobstermen in ghost light
used the hill as a battery – cannon
fodder to the Charlestown shore where
I had never walked there before
my periphery stopped at the skating
rink the oval circle on Commercial Street
a dollar entrance fee to find
the rhythm of eternal life skating eights in
imperfect time – this motion of forever
a path – a curve – a smooth surface cut
a pattern high above me on Copps Hill
the sun sets over the battery – the light
coming out from the lovely haunted homes – each
built with stolen gravestone foundations
the silence in locked spaces – green
May places –never look back – or fall
forward – the city is magnificently alive below.



King’s Chapel Burying Ground


The dead are pressed together
In the charnel house, an abundance
of ossuary riches, forgotten for centuries
turned to ditches, the crypts are sealed
off, each portal no longer has a door
but grass recedes to form a floor
in the cold spring evening, the electric hum
of skyscrapers distinguish us from the dead.



Putney Bridge Station


You are the ghost the keeps on coming
Up the stairs from the subway –
Walking ahead of me on Putney Bridge
Your hair reaches the edge of your collar
And I know that you have nowhere to go
Destination unknown – the grass in the brick
Overgrown – each footprint as quick as air
Evaporating in front of me – a torrid column
Smoke stack – burnt paper – another way
To always say goodbye.




Easter Sunday 2017


There are dead animals in the house
having crawled into a space that will
serve as both cradle and coffin – the sweet
sickly smell of decay coming through plaster
concrete, wood, insulation – no resurrection
this Easter I stop to imagine your terror:
shallow breathing – no space to turn and
retrace the journey in – the journey on
the smell will remain for at least a month
by then you will have become bone
part of the house – piece of the foundation
little ghost paws will make their way through
the walls and see what they can no longer




Anne Pluto

Anne Elezabeth Pluto is Professor of Literature and Theatre at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA where she is the artistic director and one of the founders of the Oxford Street Players. She is an alumna of Shakespeare & Company, and has been a member of the Worcester Shakespeare Company since 2011. She was a member of the Boston small press scene in the late 1980s and is one of the founders and editors at Nixes Mate Review.  Her chapbook, The Frog Princess, was published by White Pine Press (1985), and her chapbook Benign Protection by Cervena Barva Press (2016). Recent publications include: The Buffalo Evening NewsUnlikely StoriesEpisode IVMat Hat LitPirene’s Fountain, The Enchanting Verses Literary Review, MockingHeart Review, Yellow Chair Review, Levure Litteraire – numero 12, The Naugatuck River Review, Tuesday, An Art Project, the Muddy River Review.