Petaluma tutor

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Sande Anfang is a teacher, poet and visual artist who recently moved to Petaluma.  She is the author of three poetry collections:  A chapbook, Fig Leaf Optional (1983), Crown of Thorns (2011), and most recently, String Theory (2012).  She has been published numerous times online in The Shine Journal, and has won several writing contests and awards.  Most recently, Sande featured at Bird and Beckett in San Francisco.

Sande has been writing since her junior year in high school, when a respected English teacher offered her a first honest critique, cementing a lifelong passion for writing.  Sande is inspired by the natural world, witnessing youthful ardor in the arts, raptors, and random bits of conversation culled from public transportation. To write, for her, is to breathe.


Shoulder to shoulder
it stands among its brothers on the sideboard
a plainclothes soldier home on leave.
Tarnished, bent from the hard work of war
with carrots and beets
ready to be of service
for the greater good.

It wears four faces:
sheets of sharp-shinned punches -
lined like military graves -
fields of tiny crosses
marking the life of a daughter
sister, neice
long gone,
a single crooked smile
with winking eyes.

A red enameled handle
grounds the tired hands who wield it
as the farmer wields the plow
hands that memorized
the choreography of cooking.

Red-knuckled monument to mothers,
bearing casseroles at church suppers
who leave their mark on homely
unseen implements
in kitchens
for the greater good.



Pay Heed to the Magic

Don’t confuse it with illusion
magicians’ mischief
the sleight-of-hand that splays the deck of cards
& begs you choose
won’t listen to your longing.

Peer under leaves instead
in early morning light
still drunk with dew.
Trace the snail’s trail
with your index finger;
watch where it goes.

Catch the eyes of elders
eyes that laugh even when mouths turn down
in spite of themselves.
They have seen the magic.
Pay heed to wild mushrooms
springing from a fairy ring.

The world’s alive with synchronicity
there for the taking.
Take what you need
or what you love;

Leave breathless.




The tide inhales the shoreline
holds it breath

This is what life has come to—
chains of high and minus tides strung together like buoys—
the constant vigil of its own breath.

And what of we
who comb the slick moss-painted rock
cruising for octopi
fingering anemones who flex & tense
their green tentacles parting the seaweed's hair.

Like this niche's creatures
we cling to what we know
see only what we understand,
do what we can.

We pick our way forward
drift back again
not daring to pull up anchor
seek a foreign cove.

Fissured rock foreshadows faultlines
building toward outrance
kelp ribbons strain to keep their hold
tide pool sculpins zip across the sand
hell-bent for shelter

urchins & brittle stars flex their biceps
trusting their tethers.

Only the lowly hermit crab finds this hilarious
scuttling over salt-licked rocks,
shouldering its motorhome
headed for the border one more time.


"Lightfoot" - Oil on canvas by Sandra Anfang


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