Anna M. Evans


My Life as One of King Charles II’s Mistresses

There is a portrait of me—I look pretty,
perhaps a little too much skin on show,
but Peter Lely captured me, a glow
I had when nineteen, mischievous and witty.
I could have had my pick of the whole city,
but then, the king was quite the man, you know?
And for the seven months he was my beau
I was content. Indeed, it was a pity
my husband found us out, and sent me down
to his estate a hundred miles from town.
But, silver linings! When the black plague struck
I wasn’t there. Nor was I, with more luck,
when our fine mansion burned down to the ground.
My husband’s corpse, alas, was never found.


Anna M. Evans’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Harvard Review, Atlanta Review, Rattle, American Arts Quarterly, and 32 Poems. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and is the editor of the Raintown Review. Recipient of Fellowships from the MacDowell Artists’ Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and winner of the 2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Readers’ Choice Award, she currently teaches at West Windsor Art Center and Richard Stockton College of NJ. “My Life as One of King Charles II’s Mistresses” is from her sonnet collection Sisters & Courtesans, forthcoming later this year from White Violet Press. Visit her online at