February 12, 2010

Karen Kelsay


Today I'm scrubbing chocolate spots
after gathering the neighbor child's
ribbons from my damask chair,
thinking how her fidgety hands
have smeared the French windows
and left Popsicle prints across my gilded
light switch. I watch her towhead
bobbing across the lawn beyond
the bougainvillea as she threatens to twist
off the pinkest geranium blooms
and capture the cat.

Our extra bedroom has become
a collecting place for this gremlin's
wardrobe, complete with jewelry stand,
pairs of black heeled shoes, sparkling
little Capezios and grimy-footed tights
I dutifully wash by hand in the porcelain
sink each evening, after I iron miniature
clothes and slip peanut butter sandwiches
into a backpack layered with homework,
then kiss her goodnight and walk her home—
thinking how sometimes in this life,
we are offered redemption.

—first published by Flutter Press


Karen Kelsay, a native Californian, spent most of her childhood weekends on a boat. She received a Pushcart Prize nomination for Hymn of Autumn in 2009, and is the author of five chapbooks. Her work has recently appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, The Lyric, The Christian Science Monitor and The New Formalist.

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