Karen Poppy – Four Poems


The year some French
Took too literally
And his poem, “The Cat”:

Body electric,
Name ironic.
With ceremony,
Flung into space.

A subtle air
A dangerous perfume.

97 miles
Through atmosphere.
A long way for a kitty cat
Nabbed from Paris streets.

Like every cat,
She safely landed
On all four feet,
But sincerely wished
For that life back,
A happy escape
To Paris.
To a bakery perhaps,
Air redolent
Of time spent
Watching with agate eyes
Kneading and baking bread.
Or a café,
Lapping milk instead.
Oh, anything instead!

Knew exactly
What Jean Cocteau,
Who died that year,
Meant when he wrote,
“Grave mouths of lions.”

Through blackness hurled,
She mewed into the roar.
Her grave, silent mouth
When back to Earth
She sped, heart on floor.

Then they finally opened,
, what took so long?
That space rocket door.

Notre Dame Tower

Each step, a milky groove,
A channel, like water
Troughing time.
Its course
Over stone,
White cocoon.
Shone through
Spiraling to the top.

At each circle
Our feet make,
A tiny glass window,
Like a sugar egg
Reveals a new scene:
A pigeon Madonna,
Chick newly hatched,
Haloed by sunlight.
A golden dome
Off in the distance.
A lightening rod
On the next roof
To dispel any electricity,
As we continue
Our calm pace
Upward, measured,
A skyward
Flowing stream.


Air heavy, wet cloth.
Those words,
Tainted, unsaid, blank
Openings of silence.
After rains,
You would think
It would all wash
But it hangs fast, clings
To here and now.
After years,
You would think
It would all come clean,
But here
Each speck remains, trapped
In residue, soiled
By time and remembrance.
Here, every word stays,
Checked by still tongue.
Weighted, careful, never said.
Here, after words.

Your Words

I want you
To speak to me,
In fact,
As you would speak
To your animals.

Because I want
To capture
That pure,
True animal
Of your words,
Pungent and alive.

You don’t need
To speak
Because they
Give softly,
In the night.

Visible scent
A glistening
A ripe
As I lull them
Gently to sleep.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is the connectedness of all things, and the sheer miracle of our existence.


Karen Poppy has work published or forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, ArLiJo, Wallace Stevens Journal, and Young Ravens Literary Review, among others. She has recently written her first novel, is at work on her second novel, and is an attorney licensed in California and Texas. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. More at: https://karenpoppy.wordpress.com/