When you call Anne Ann, her other self comes rushing back.
Ann, who remembers every loneliness, every cruelty, unvarnished. Ann, who cannot get a funny ache in her heart when she sees the Lake of Shining Waters.
Ann is even thinner than Anne. Anne hates her own thinness only because it reminds her of Ann in her yellowish gray wincey from the orphan asylum.
Ann has only one thing Anne envies—cascades of lush black hair.
When you renounce the sorrow you renounce the beauty.
Anne does not have sorrows, only tragical romances, endured in diaphanous white gowns of the imagination by someone named Cordelia.
Ann has sorrows, and they have destroyed her scope for imagination. Ann is stuck in reality, which is an orphan asylum with no trees. Being unwanted is a pain in her stomach, sour milk and hard bread.
Anne has a kind heart, so she carries Ann with her. Anne shows Ann the Lake of Shining Waters, shelters her under the White Way of Delight. Ann remains numb. Anne is patient. She will carry Ann curled inside her.
Anne is the moon, full and luminous. Ann is the night sky, absent of mother’s milk. Ann is quartz that is sharp and cold and clear.
The quartz pricks at Anne’s consciousness. It hurts her and, in pain, she feels.
Anne has no skin. Blood eye heart pressed against the world.
The Lake of Shining Waters purifies her. The White Way of Delight protects her.
Samantha Stiers has published fiction, poetry, and memoir in Conjunctions, DIAGRAM, Black Warrior Review, and many other magazines. She is the recipient of the Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Prize. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she is a student and enjoys the visual expressive arts, including painting, needle-felting, and dollmaking.