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I Want Answers! (from Anna Meister)

I Want Answers! (from Anna Meister)

So last week’s episode was a smashing success: I got through the entire show without dropping my note cards and Dara made it to the final round without using even one lifeline. Which is about as good as an episode of this show can go without a round of Plinko.

BOAAT3Today I’m diving toe-first into the Atlantic and hoping that a “boaht” can find me. The newest issue of BOAAT is a friggin’ 90 ton sperm whale: it’s got great pieces from Paul Cunninghm and Keegan Lester and Paul Arrand Rodgers and GOOD GOD JOANNA NOVAK. But the poet I want answers from is Anna Meister, who wrote this brilliant//beautiful//heartbreaking epic that includes one of the most powerful stanzas that I’ve read since I figured out who Frank Stanford was:

the day

my grandfather was buried

behind the frozen cornfield

wayne handed dad the shovel & said

you have to dig the hole

i remember his mud covered suit

& cheeks quickly drying in the winter air

i remember him


but now that same face

all wet & burning

now his grip under the icicles

his clean wail

a pitch never before heard

god i’m sorry

i’m so sorry god

                            but he is speaking to me

So yeah, soak that in and read the rest of the poem. But hey! Anna! What I’m really wondering is: when was the last time you prayed and what were you praying for?

Mark Cugini

Mark Cugini is managing editor of Big Lucks, a strategist for Real Pants, and the author of I'M JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE (Ink Press, 2014). Find him at

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About The Author

Mark Cugini

Mark Cugini is managing editor of Big Lucks, a strategist for Real Pants, and the author of I'M JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE (Ink Press, 2014). Find him at

  • Anna Meister

    MARK! this poem holds a lot of me, so thank you for your words about it. i’ve been steady floating since i read them. this whole business is the cutest part of my day so far! regarding yr question:

    i do pray, but i’m not sure i’d call it by that name. there’s a certain resistance i have against what was enforced when i was small. maybe some of that is in the poem.

    i spend a lot of time talking to myself & working through/wishing for things, a lot of time clutching gorgeous rocks that might have some magic inside. i speak to loved ones who are gone now like my great-grandmothers francis & hazel (aka “little grandma”) – they both lived to be hella old & were powerhouses, true & fine examples of the kind of woman i’d like to grow into. i send thoughts to my mom & i think she receives them. these are probably all kinds of prayer, so i’m probably always praying.

    this morning my wishes were for warmth, a new poem, the energy to walk to the grocery store. oh! & for my student loans to finally get disbursed.

    ***i feel like i should also say that my pops is a big ol’ sweetie who looks like santa & we get along p well now.

    • I love this — the poem, Mark’s question, Anna’s answer. Puts me in mind of that great journal Matthew Simmons and Bryan Furuness did about prayer. Someone should do that again.

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