The Works of Anca Vlasopolos 

Anca Vlasopolos published the award-winning novel The New Bedford Samurai; the award-winning memoir No Return Address: A Memoir of Displacement; three collections of poems, Cartographies of Scale (and Wing), Walking Toward Solstice and Penguins in a Warming World; three poetry chapbooks; a detective novel, Missing Members, and over 200 poems and short stories. She was nominated several times for the Pushcart Award in poetry and fiction.


All Poems © Anca Vlasopolos 

Extreme Weather


you at least only rarely shock me

with romance


            after brute tearing by mad winds

                        heaving waters of sky             oceans             tributaries

                                    upon so many


            even here in the upper midwest where

                        the hem of Sandy’s mantle swept off the lights


            after the great wrench of another election

                        cracking this nation like a whacked coconut


the faraway daughter  the closeaway daughter          my friend        i

got sucked

            into this mellifluous mildness

            not wholly masking needle teeth

                        worrying us from beneath

fell for this gift of mid-november day

            weirdly tingeing with tender breath

                        these last hanging leaves

                                    left blushing

                        these last flitters

                                    for they

                                                better than we


tomorrow we will huddle

            like snails from jibes

            in our sole casings

                        against cold

                                    against loss

Farewell the Roses


             when names of friends            like fading stars

                        are lost to failing senses

                        students’ names in droves fall

                                    lemmings off the cliff of memory


do i still remember


            of roses planted over twenty years ago

some meaningful         Ingrid Bergman           my mother’s face       

that gorgeous symmetry

            World War Two Memorial

                        Richie Boy Ralph        your father      your uncle

                                    all my lost unknown kin


others without much sense

                        Abraham Darby          what’s he to me

            trite      obvious            English Yellow Rose  Red Ribbon


on this mid-November Michigan day

i cull the last four

            one a bud        two full-blown doused in exquisite scent

                        one just beginning its unfurling

 tomorrow they’d be bowed beneath the snow

             inside this vase that’ll not survive much longer

they light

            surprised by warmth

                        their peach       cream       blood-red


          one more time



in dreams only

you come back


            hanging another ton weight to my guilt

why did you give away my clothes    my everything?

how will I live

            and that longtime companion grief wakes      lashes me


what shall I say

spotted- and striped-chested birds

            as they return

            to what they’ve known as haven for millenia

            now three backyards’ worth

look                 now only two

soon to be only one



            inevitably as I leave for my own haunting grounds



Opal Moon

                                                October child, Christopher Leland, in memoriam


the evening after your death

a crescent moon just cleared the rooftops


            petal of spent lily


heat hung low

the dog and I pushing through the cottonwool


when we turned back

the moon



            with brassy conquering light

                        we       left below

                        groped our way



Paris Sediments

layered under time
when violently opened
the city shows the depths of our ruin
these chambers            baths                theaters            temples
a time when gallo-roman gamins
could frolic in a Seine
not corseted in banks of stone


layered across my insignificant chronology
she drives in the spike of memory
for all that’s gone and flown
since last time and all the times before
I stood on these same stones


acacias flowering out of season
this early august
at every breeze
shed blossoms on our heads
not heeding grey or sparseness


on the boulevard
let down
a rattle of dry leaves
despite those stray blooms among our curls
the season
moves on

Sparrow's Fall

what you take to be

an understanding with a wild creature

means merely life is seeping out of it

as with the little sparrow

who hopped away under the cover of the yew

each time I caught her eating at the goldfinch feeder

humbly she left and humbly she returned

I looked away

then saw her—wing awry—hop only on the ground

next day the stupid dog

who couldn’t find a bone if he tripped on it

found her and nearly toothless worried her to death

today a cluster of snowdrops lifts a massive clump

of sodden leaves two inches above ground

when dry they’ll blow away

leaving these spears to pierce the air toward sun

until they split and drop their pearls small bells

pealing with silent laughter at their munificence

irish green wedded to delicately tinged

white blinding brilliance in this world

of drab small quiet deaths

Summer Blues


and so it blooms again

            bursts of stars on ends of crosswires

chicory you loved

            profligate         hanging on to road sides


            with amber eyes and honey hair

you looked resplendent in its color

the chicory dress clothed you for that last time

but I could not bear to have them crack the coffin open


now each summer road

punctuated by these blue flowers

awakens me to you inhabiting that dress


o so alive