Amanda Ryan


       The girl who would fake-startle, or display
a studied stance, or laugh more than was right.
Growing up I heard this word, despite
not learning Tagalog. “Too maarte,”
my mother would say in her mixed tongue way
with narrowed brows, as though she saw right
past stage to makeup lines and props and lights,
and not what I had wanted to portray.
I still don’t know how to define the word  
but I have grown enough to see it. The ‘art,’
stands center stage alone in a theater,
delivers its lines with the ease of one who’s heard
them before and knows applause by heart,
casting around for those who’d like to be her.

Amanda Ryan holds B.A.s in English Literature and Music from U.C. Davis and an M.A. in Theology and Letters from New Saint Andrews College. Her poetry has been published in Vita Poetica, Ekstasis, The Christian Century, and is forthcoming in the Ghost City Review. Born and raised in California in the Bay Area, she currently lives in Bellevue, WA, with her  husband and children.