This poem comes from Ann Neelon’s first collection of poetry, “Easter Vigil,” which won the 1995 Anhinga Prize for Poetry. Joy Harjo, judge of that year’s contest, say’s this about Ann Neelon’s collection:
It is rare to come upon a poet with such a wide ranging vision as Ann Neelon. She’s a risk taker with heart, a poet who in in the world as a compassionate observer. The poem’s deserve your attention.
Night Owl by Ann Neelon From you, I inherited this starry flesh, The night is young, the night is young — my voice is your voice in endless mimicry. Thirty years ago, sleepless and hungry for quarry, I caught you drinking milk of magnesia, staring into the kitchen sink as into a deep well, Father, if you had jumped in, I would have had to follow. How many times I space-walked toward you across the pock- marked moonfloor, triumphant in my pajamas before the less courageous world, Gravity was your unfailing argument: just what, young lady, do you think you’re doing up? Tonight, bills unopened, heart too in arrears, I remember how the muscles in your face relaxed. To ease your cares, it was enough for you to know that I didn’t have any. And so we discussed kindergarten, the moon and the stars. — Ann Neelon is a native of Boston and a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and of Holy Cross College. She has been a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, as well as a Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford Univeristy.