Three Poems | by Karen Wolf


Her mind is a tin box storing snapshots,
it sheds rust building up on her soul
like a can left out in the rain.
Piles of numbing photos gleaned from
daily life and social outlets, ever present—
handcuffs, bloodied cheek, hospital wrist band,
protruding ribs of hunger, caged animals, tornado flattened village.
Unconnected images mix with those of mouths
remaining closed in uncaring silence,
or open spewing hateful comments,
eyes that look away or never even notice.

Each photo imprints sadness, rusted layer upon layer.
Her reactions hidden behind a fake smile of normalcy
until the weight of them spills out when she sees
a vole, dead mid-trail, leaf on its head like a tiny hat.
She cries for the vole, the raptor that dropped his meal,
and the pain pulsing from every photo.
She releases his spirit and her accumulated sadness.
His delicate wholeness gives her strength to carry on.


Some believe all is predetermined,
we but actors playing out a script.
But the director has gone out for coffee
or is planet hopping in another galaxy,
for we are certainly on our own.

The script states thou shalt not kill.
So who is directing our drones
of hatred that murder and maim,
giving the stage direction,
find your mark, a catastrophic meaning?

The script states thou shalt not steal.
Shouldn’t the director step in
as the action is up-staged by
big oil claiming eminent domain
for their profits?
And special interests stealing elections?

Who is directing this play?
Who is making sure the actors
give as much as they take from one another
as they work toward the whole
benefitting all upon earth’s stage?
The director has left the building,
if indeed he was ever present.


Twice I touched the shroud of death.
Its gauzy darkness:
dulled the taste of my final meals,
choked back my family’s good-bye words,
jellied my muscles for the final walks.
Strapped down and pierced by needles,
my spirit struggled to embrace life.
The shroud loomed ever closer, then
vanished with each reprieving
phone call, to reaffirm the
sanctity of my life:
a lesson learned too late for my victims,
knowledge still unfamiliar to my government.
Surely, the third time that
shroud will wrap and wrestle me
into the darkness of my grave.

J.D. Scott (1953 – 2001)





Karen Wolf has an undergraduate degree in Education from the University of Toledo and a Master of Arts degree from Bowling Green State University. She has retired from a 30 year teaching career and is semi-retired from her own pet sitting company. She has been published in Smokey Blue Literary and Art Magazine, Dime Store Review, Tree House An Exhibition of the Arts, The Wagon Magazine (an international publication), Oasis Journal, Artificium: The Journal, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Lit.Cat, Sobotka Literary Magazine, The Bookends Review, The Drunken Llama, and Blynkt.

She also received the E.E. Cummings Free Verse award and the Creative Challenge Award from PRIZM Art-A-Fair 2016. She says that poetry soothes the savage beast and opens her eyes to the beauty that abounds within the world.


One Comment Add yours

  1. c says:

    Your voice is so special and so truthful. What you say so beautifully needs to be said. Reading it is such necessary pleasure.


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