Anna Teresa Slater

Anna Teresa Slater is a high school literature and drama teacher from a small town in the Philippines.  She is a postgraduate student in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Panay News, Poetika Anthology 2018, and Better Than Starbucks. Recurring themes in her writing include feminism, protest, and nature. She lives on a farm with her husband, dog, and cat.



4 a.m. is my church. A secret kept

until I chanced upon it. Awakened

by a choir of crowing, much like a calling

to open a good book or to breathe in

the coppery silk air. When I am there I live in-between. Alone

and in union with all the citizens of the world

who dream. As coffee brews I sit in communion

with my chair, the open window, my nakedness. A spirit

of stillness –stolen and holy cocooned– wafts through

this hour, returns me to womb

or to that sacred brink before bud

becomes flower. Silence

the only worship for this space bestowed

upon the chosen few. When I miss God,

the gods, something more, myself

I visit this candle-lit time, where I know I must leave

my shoes at the door, where there is something beyond

yes and no, up and down, birth and death,

this. Even more. Even so

I accept that my watch does not know wait, so before the end

of the hush, before first light creeps in, before rush

of ritual and real, I bow my head then

with reverential high, I whisper goodbye, ready

for new day to begin.





There is an untethered white horse saddled inside my chest

creating by its very presence a kind of art with its upright

crest, cascading mane, its tail waving behind in weaving flight,

its starred muzzle steering forward, guided

by ancient contemplation.


When my heart is trampled, spirit stifled and withered

Warmblood gallops in a blaze, unfazed, barreling on ahead

till by my will and its prudence, rest. I rein it in and it tames the flare

in my breast. Then we ride as one in trochaic hum

into unpainted sunsets and further on into bare, unwritten dawns.