The Gazelle


Pink and orange bleed from the horizon,

Spitting flecks of gold

Like topaz in a crown.


Flushed fields

Wrinkle and bow,

Rough against my knees.


Nameless insects click and hum,

A hiss nearby sharpens the tongue

Of the breeze,

When her gaze locks with mine.


Roped horns,

Curved to a perfect point,


Thick eyelashes,

Framing velvety eyes,


Fawn skin,

Rippling over delicate bones,



I glimpse her tiny hooves

Only once,

Her soft ears bobbing

As she leaps.


For a moment,

I let go of my breath.




Empty Without Him: An Ode to my Little Brother


Air, tinged with a whiff of primer,

Whispers between white shades that hang

On grey-blue walls not yet faded from the sun.

The comforter sags to the left of the bedpost,

Twisted green stripes and blue checker.

Buried under them somewhere

Is Phil, the stuffed turtle he never sleeps without.

The closet, door always ajar,

Reveals a pile of basketball shorts and T-shirts

Lumped into the hamper.

The mirror is speckled

With fingerprints and droplets of toothpaste.

Gum is stuck to the rim of the waste basket,

And the box he carved last year gleams proudly

On his dresser.


The red drum set he got for Christmas

And 101.3 KDWB

Are not vibrating the hardwoods

Or my head.

He and his pack of tan, gangly friends

Are not shouting or laughing loudly.


It is only cool, dark, and silent,

Empty without him in it.




Mind the Gap


Swaying in and out of dark tunnels,

Scraping over the ground. 

Lavender pansies 

In window boxes of brick flats

Flit past.


A young caramel-skinned woman

Is defined by one word:  long. 

Long legs, crossed daintily.

Long black braids hanging to her belly.

Long pink nails.

Her thumbs clack over the screen

Of a Smartphone


With a neon purple case.

Across from her, a dozing teenager

With a sweatshirt so baggy,

He could shimmy through one sleeve.

Black headphones suction his ears,

Like a Mickey Mouse hat upside down.

Drool glistens on his lip,

His translucent eyelids

Water-damaged maps of blue veins.


An older gentleman

Sidles past me

In a gust of cologne sharp as Spearmint.

Setting a briefcase on the floor, he sips coffee carefully

Under a mustache like a white mink.


Finally, we lurch to a stop.

Staccato beeping fills the air

Like the squawks of a panicked hen.


I let go of the yellow pole

As the doors whoosh open

To chilly, damp air

And streaks of rain.



Anna Paulson


Bio:  Anna Paulson lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she studies at Concordia University.