Two Poems by Karen Poppy

Ribs' arched 
Smile, lavish
Flower, sweet
Swarm over.
Sun's heat,
Surge of scent.
Death does not
Relent, expands
Almost silent,
These birds sing
Spring's thaw.
Inner flesh, each
Beak's honed gnaw.
Red curtains opening.

My mom thinks her childhood dog
Ran away because she petted him
As he ate. My mom thinks she
Called her grandmother to take her 
In because her soon-to-be stepfather
Beat her. Picked up the phone at age
Three, called and arranged for her
Grandmother to save her. My mom
Thinks her mother did not give her
Away, did not choose an unhinged,
Violent man over her own daughter. 
My mom thinks it better to stay
With my father for the children.
My mom thinks she did not choose
An unhinged, violent man over 
Her own daughter. My mom pets
My hair and confides in me as she
Feeds me. I am too young to understand
Until I grow up and she continues
To tell the same stories, confides
In me like a friend. My mom
Thinks my grandmother took me in
Out of favoritism, not because I ran
Away. My grandmother saved my life.
She also gave me a quilt, its overlapping 
Patterns I still see when I close my eyes.
Karen Poppy

Karen Poppy has work published in numerous literary journals, magazines, and anthologies. Her chapbooks CRACK OPEN/EMERGENCY (2020) and OUR OWN BEAUTIFUL BRUTALITY (2021) are both published by Finishing Line Press. Her chapbook, EVERY POSSIBLE THING, is published by Homestead Lighthouse Press (2020). An attorney licensed in California and Texas, Karen Poppy lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her website and view her publications at https://karenpoppy.com/publications/

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