February 22, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Lorie Shaull photo



Karen Shepherd




February 14, 2018


“It’s a horrific, horrific day” – Sheriff Scott Israel



With conversation hearts and last

year’s ashes, morning broke. A day

of love and weight of sin amassed

in pews. But later, darkness found

it’s way again past doors we send

our children through. A breath we take

and hold, a light we can watch bend

around a cross: we’re left to ache

for mercy yet to come. Too soon,

we’ll hear again, when really it’s

too late. These valentines are strewn

about, more votive candles lit.


We express horrific concern

and unto dust we shall return.





Grief’s Box



We put grief in a box, pack it up tight,

pretend it’s not there, now a ghost that hides

and watches from a closet. We still know

it’s there, but we won’t look at it. We feel

it’s gaze through open-cracked doors. Find your peace,

we tell ourselves.  We have to step around

it sometimes to get hold of other things.

We move it to one side, then put it back.

The weight once lingered briefly in our arms

but now it burns and wants for something more.

We’ve had enough of storing it in these

dark places, contents rich with lives we held.


We pull that grief out now and step upon this box,

a podium for voices we should not have lost.







Karen Shepherd

Karen Shepherd lives with her husband and two teenagers in the Pacific Northwest, where she enjoys kayaking, walking in forests and listening to the rain. Her poems and fiction have been published in various journals including riverbabble, CircleShow, The Society of Classical Poets, Poets Reading the News, and Writers Resist.

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