Ana Reyes
    Ana Reyes is a poet and fiction writer in Los Angeles. Born in Austin, Texas, she has lived in Massachusetts, where she got her BA at UMass, Amherst, and in Guatemala City, where her father is from. Her poems have appeared in online and print publications such as Foliate Oak, Danse Macabre and the San Fernando Valley Poetry Quarterly. She recently completed a chapbook of poems set in Hollywood with a narrative thread that blends cinematic murder mystery elements with her real life experiences as a script reader for a talent agency.
    Ana’s bio is short because she is just starting out, but she is hardly a beginner and writes with more confidence and inspiration than many other people who’ve been at it for decades.  I have encountered Ana often during the last couple of years at readings and workshops, and her work is hard to sum up in a few short lines: it is concerned with mysterious and mythical road trips and the exploration of amorous ties and family and ancestry in the midst of a fragmented cultural landscape. She may read out loud in a carefree, twenty-something and very contemporary-sounding tone of voice, but this belies the earnest glow at the heart of her poems, and the depth and seriousness that reach out to the attentive reader or listener. I imagine her best days are ahead of her, but what she has already produced is definitely worthy of our attention and admiration. 


From the Belly of the Bear

I can’t see a thing in here. My feet are mired in moss and the velvet
of masticated men. I too was bitten small. Swallowed so I could live
beneath this great bear heart. My fingers find a leaf, pliant
with digestive sap. Brought back to life. Back to life
in crawling dark. This world is learned by touch. Toes dipped in pools
of rainwater, puddles of Schlitz. My fingers find the skeleton
of a salmon, pluck its ribcage and rearrange the bones. I’ll build
a tiny, bony loom and weave myself a dress. A dress

of leaf and moss and fur and heart and cave and breath.



Unenlightened, a Love Story

I don’t want to end this bitter
desire that brings me back

in new bodies to learn
to live what I’ve sown

I won’t pray to transcend
the soul-battered seasons

their worn-out loved-in suffer circles
I hurt to come back

for the back-breaking reap again
I’ll plant iron-shackle seeds

of hunger to sow and ache and sow
less perfect each time, I will make sure,

in a backwards mandala
like a rotting lotus

to make murders of crows
of mistakes and have no choice

but come back, cut another path through
this crawling terrace

and search for the blood
red fruit that will ruin me


How to Talk to the Dead


Wait until you are sleeping
then picture a phone.
Any phone will work
but the old, weighty ones are best,
the kind with a clicking rotary.
Find one that ticks backwards
like the memory of a clock.
Pick up the receiver
and picture the face
of the one you have lost.
Remember how he cleared
his throat. If you can summon
the smell of his basement in summer,
dust floating through strands of sun
and settling in motor oil, then it won’t matter
that you no longer know his number
by heart. You will hear the ringing.

The trick to getting him on the phone
is in the timing. When he sleeps now,
he dreams of his life. He sees himself
at his mother’s bedside,
helpless. Then he’s dragging
a sled through gauzy snow, high
on sasparilla. He is summoned
to a war. His stomach plummets.
In his hand, a black bag with a stethoscope.
He listens to the hearts of a thousand people.
He carries his wife
over one threshold and then another.
In the kitchen, he hangs wind chimes.
Gulf stream through the window
makes them sing. So does his granddaughter,
perched on his shoulder, brushing them
with her fingers. They have become rusty.
He listens to her heart. At night, he listens to his own
like an egg timer, until he remembers he has
no heartbeat anymore and he begins to wake.

Don’t hang up. This is when he might
answer. When you are half in his world
and he is half in yours. His face becomes crowded.
Somewhere a phone is ringing.

2011 Ana Reyes
Ana Reyes was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the September 2011 Second Sunday Poetry Series