The Poems


The poems push themselves into this realm
of  breezes and ideas.

They crown,
first one shoulder then the next
and fairly fly into the world – confident they will be caught.

(Seems as though I have been through this before.)

Mewling and rooting they look for food and stretch to grow.

They wake me late at night because they will be heard
and deliver me to my wholeness and my calm.

Once again, I am healed and content.
And once again, they change my name.

(c) 1997 Karen M. Wilson

Untitled at the B + N

“What you need always comes,”
says the Voice.

But God, I’m tired.

I’m so tired there is no word
for the feeling
Only a great emptiness
drug from place to place
in this bodyspace.

Let me stop.

Just for a while.

Let me cry my fatigue and anguish shamelessly
like a little child
with passion
and righteous indignation.

Let me scream and sleep
sated and complete.

(c) 1997 Karen M. Wilson

Have Mercy

I can’t afford to flag or turn my head aside.

I cannot flirt with fear or hide
a trembling hand beneath old clothes.

I am quiet now
waiting in a light that no one sees.

Alive with promises whispered and pledges not yet kept.  Lord…

Hold me.

Succor me.

Keep me safe until this night is done.  Amen.

Karen M. Wilson (c) 1997

A Woman in her Forties

I knew women in their forties as I grewTheir hands were soft, lotioned, perfumed…
Their nails were always done
They were independent, self-possessed
Awe-inspiring, admired – but steered clear of.

Now I am a woman in my forties.

I keep the lotion by the sink because I remember them so well
But I can’t keep the polish on my nails for two days straight
because my hands won’t sacrifice their rhythm
for that look
they will not be still

Perhaps because I remember other women in their forties:
voice strong, eyes clear
they washed the floor and did the hair and checked the homework
kept another job maybe raising other people’s children or teaching
other people’s children

but dinner was never late.

And that apartment looked good no matter what they called it from the outside:
ghetto, welfare, project, tenement or just “this old house”

And she found the time to go to the dinner dance with her husband
and put on a pretty dress
and dance to those good songs

And she could put him to bed when holidays got a little too happy – then laugh and talk
and tell the story for years
or not.

I remember those women because I admired them:  their beauty, their strength,
their courage

They were a little scary: eagle-eyed honest,
– and maybe there was gin in that glass –
but my heart loved them so I did not stay too far away

So when I watched over the homework and washed the floor and did the hair,
I did it for them and with them.  I blessed them then.

I bless them still.

I expect I always will.

Karen Wilson Ama-Echefu