Karen L. George: Three Poems
Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor
Afternoon Tea Daydreams
In the hilly pasture, my twin sister and I sit
on dense Irish damask (white with swirls
pearly as oyster shells) Granny handed down
along with her farm, shamrock china, and the art
of reading tea leaves. Deidre hands me a cup
of Merlin’s Magic Elixir of Life ordered
from Galway, mélange of lemon myrtle,
marigold petals, grapes, rosehip peels.
She overflows her cup from the pewter
kettle, in a reverie of last summer’s lover.
We’ve spread homegrown cucumbers
with our goats’ cheese seasoned
by rosemary and thyme. Kaylie joins us,
mouth sunk in the cream crock we filled for her,
eyes drowsy—milk drunk we call it—daydreams
of suckling her nanny’s teat only a year ago.
The feral smell of her fur mixes with whiffs
of seaweed shampoo from our wind-frizzed
auburn hair. The sun’s heat on my back,
the rhythmic lap of tongue, and the sigh
of dry ryegrass tilts me into a nap.
~ Inspired by Andrea Kowch’s painting Tea
Clasped in a Moment of Fracture
Her spaniel Vincent, returned from an ocean plunge, releases a snatched mackerel into the woman’s open palm. She wants no part of what her delicate fingers support—this limp, opal-scaled body, its rheumy eyes gone dark. Her eyes distant, she chafes the past and future. Vincent’s wise gaze fixes on a sandpiper hopping ahead. The fur on his ears, the tawny amber of honey, and her plush chestnut hair blow askew in high winds. He’s collarless; she wears a white ruffle around her neck that echoes a silver choker. Saltwater droplets from the fish and dog’s mouth mirror the crystal rosary beads she fingered last night to find an answer. A blustery sky and waves arched in ecstasy frame her face, pearly as moonlight.
~ Inspired by Andrea Kowch’s painting Fetch
The first snowstorm melted except
for a patch by the barn where the family
of five crows swooped from their roost
after I threw dry kibble our Corgi refused
to eat. Their caws and wings percuss air.
I swish through fields, flatten russet crests
of ryegrass, gather branches. Fog entwines
birch trunks, ghosts the barn, soot-black
with age. Wind and cold chap my cheeks
and lips. Soon as dark descends, my love
returns. We’ll howl around flames,
revel in heat, color, crackle, spark,
launch our hibernation.
~ Inspired by Andrea Kowch’s painting Wood Fire
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen L. George is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet from Florence, Kentucky, author of five chapbooks, and three full collections from Dos Madres Press: Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and Where Wind Tastes Like Pears (2021). Her work has appeared in Adirondack Review, Louisville Review, Naugatuck River Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Sheila-na-gig, Salamander, Indianapolis Review, and Poet Lore. She’s received grants from Kentucky Foundation for Women and Kentucky Arts Council, and holds an MFA in Writing from Spalding University. She retired from a career as a computer programmer/analyst to write full-time. She enjoys photography and visiting museums, cemeteries, historic towns, gardens, and bodies of water. She is doing final edits on an ekphrastic manuscript inspired by the art of Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Emily Carr. Visit her website at: https://karenlgeorge.blogspot.com/.
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