This Were My Fair Haven

That I do not wish to obey, I admit.
My hat flaps on its peg like a half-dead moth.

Oh, how I wish to quit the claustral parlor
of this popup camper and go out to greet those

harder, darker objects of my solace,
the sky, for example, hung with a double moondog

tonight, and every last ember sputtering
back at us since the beginning of time.

The door bangs shut from all illumination.
Offered a pillow, I will decline.

Then I can stand in our street like other mute oaks
and observe your pantomime, awaiting that

wayward lurching of heart from intrepidity to dread,
squeezing a stone in my hand and willing my soul

true. I can exhale again a drift of white mist.
I can drop to one knee and yield

while a man dressed in linen draws with a bone
of warm charcoal across my brow the taw

and a girl on a bike with no headlamp wildly
rounds the corner, late, bound for somewhere else.


Karen's book Fugitive Red won the Juniper Prize for Poetry and was published by University of Massachusetts Press. Karen's new collection of poems, Your Enzymes Are Calling the Ancients, won the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor's Choice Award from Persea Books and is forthcoming in 2016. Karen served as co-editor of : A Magazine of Paragraphs, a journal of short prose published by Oat City Press. Recent work is coming up in Web Conjunctions, Tinderbox, Five Points, and Conduit. Karen is employed as a writer in Providence.