Poems from Anna Cates

Through the Looking Glass

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here.”

Alice peers through the looking glass

(a queen of hearts in a kingdom of voyeurs)

at cotton candy clouds, moving westward

so montivagant. Shady characters slump

beneath shady trees above the gloomy flume.

Worms smoke dope on magic mushrooms,

and the Jabberwocky vrooms across

the vestiges of violaceous charisma

blushing each sunrise to sunset

warm pinkish secrets.

She is no coward struck with

catoptrophobia. Yet now is not the time

for fanfaronade to gorgonize the cavalcade

bound to the Red Queen’s ktenology,

for here no anarchist antidotes loom.

She must flee her own hamartia

while her house of cards yet stands,

while cats yet grin and rabbits run,

while pigs have wings and dodos roam,

she can still go home.

Shield Maiden

some girls wait

in a castle

others call

a cage

they wait

for the red cape

to come flashing

a prince with perfect teeth

and polished boots

they wait

for their gardens to grow

they say it takes

a lot of rain

alone in their bower

they watch

the parade pass by

they dream

of roses that never fade

in a world full of princes

full of monsters too


diamond tiara

feathers of red or blue


cat or bandit

she hides

cheeks and eyes

behind the mask

because she’s shy

she betrays no magic

to gods of mountain or sky

she wears the mask

because she’s shy

gods on the mountain

gods in the sky

she wears the mask

because she’s shy

About Anna Cates

Anna Cates is a graduate of Indiana State University (M.A. English and Ph.D. Curriculum & Instruction/English) and National University (M.F.A. Creative Writing). Her first collections of poetry and fiction, The Meaning of Life and The Frog King, were published by Cyberwit Press, and her second poetry collection, The Darkroom, by Prolific Press. She lives in Ohio with her two beautiful kitties and teaches education and English online, including graduate courses in creative writing.


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