Squirrel Hill

“The main thing is to write for the joy of it.”
       — Seamus Heaney, Station Island
Eyes of the author.

Ann Curran

PHOTO: Ann Curran

Ann Curran is the author most recently of the chapbook Irish Ayes. She also wrote Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge and Me First (Lummox Press, 2013), poems drawn from encounters with the great and not-so-great. Clear-eyed and wry,Me First has been praised by Samuel Hazo and Jim Daniels. Curran also wrote the chapbook Placement Test, an editor’s choice publication by Main Street Rag Publishing Company of Charlotte, N.C.

Her poetry has appeared in Ireland of the Welcomes, Rosebud, Notre Dame Magazine, Off the Coast, Commonweal, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Three Rivers Poetry Journal, and Writer's Digest.

She covered the International Poetry Forum for the Pittsburgh Press and interviewed Seamus Heaney, Ruth Stone, Maxine Kumin, Czeslaw Milosz, Allen Ginsberg, and others. A two-time graduate of Duquesne University, she was longtime editor of Carnegie Mellon Magazine. She taught English at the Community College of Allegheny County and Duquesne University and worked for the Pittsburgh Catholic and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

On the Untimely and Recurring Demise
of My Late Great Grandmother

Grandmothers die three or four times
a semester. Ask any teacher.
They sometimes all belong to one
slow-witted student whose wisdom
is never found in books. They die
on glowing fall days when summer’s
fingers still tease and tickle,
when the warmth that was returns to taunt
the young and set the woods on fire.
They’re buried on a winter morning
with no snow, cold biting the wet cheeks
of survivors. A day when comfort
lies late in bed, an extra quilt,
a cup of tea, no need to stir.
But often they book the spring flight.
With the first burst of forsythia,
grandmothers queue up all over
the country. They all long to lie
beneath that yellow-green spring
where the children of their children
so thoughtlessly dispatch them.
And if they knew, they’d understand.

Published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One Blue Basket

I can look at the MRI,
the walnut-sized abnormality,
the white inflammation
scattered on grey matter,
nod to the neurosurgeon
and forget it shows
my daughter’s brain.

But I look at one blue
laundry basket,
its brittle web
shattered with age.
One blue basket, where
once she curled
sucking her thumb,
needing again the womb
neither of us knew.
One blue basket.
And it grips me as though
this were her broken body,
lying before me.
I couldn’t fix it then.
I can’t fix it again.

Published in Along These Rivers

Travel Writers on Lough Erne

The New York Times went below.
The Pittsburgh Podunk stayed on deck
to report on the only boat on Lough Erne.
No billboards, no signs, no people.
Grass running all the way to the water’s edge,
curling over for a drink.
Devenish Island deserted by monks.
The perfect round tower,
safe, solitary,
an easy place for prayer.
Only blindness would be penance there.
And the sun, just dead, bloodying up the sky,
silhouetting three prematurely bare trees.
It was almost enough to blot out
the guide’s careful locking of the car
against the occasional planted bomb.

Published in Off the Coast