Karen Kelsay


It's happened just like this for centuries—
Wives lose their husbands, that is nothing new.
Spend six decades of time, a little change,
Then, poof, no warning, he has died on you.

The children all are squeezing out their tears,
A sign that love was hidden deep within,
Between the tragic times and squabbling,
His funny comments and sarcastic grin.

But bluff was called; they still can't measure how
Deeply you have been affected. Well
Adjusted, stoic, self-controlled, alive
Is not what they expected. You dispel

The image of a so-subservient wife,
And now by default, get your chance at life.

Drama in the Garden

Within my rosebush, when I thought to check
The welfare of finch nestlings, I discovered
An emptied bowl of twigs with nothing left.
The parents, stunned and flitting nearby, hovered

Just below the neighbor's broad mesquite.
The family seemed brilliantly secluded,
Beneath sharp thorns and leaves that camouflaged
Their small retreat; the parents had eluded

My cat (although they tolerated me,
If my chair was not positioned near).
Each morning I spent checking up on them.
I'd wait until I thought the coast was clear,

And reach my arm in for a photograph:
Four beaks wide open, in a patch of light,
A bit of fluff around small brown-tipped wings.
I'd speculate on their initial flight.

But then they vanished quickly as they came,
Without a hint of who, or what to blame.


Karen Kelsay, native of Southern California, is the editor of Kelsay Books. Her full length collection, Amytis Leaves Her Garden (published in 2012), received the AML award for best poetry book, and was on the recommended reading list at Valparaiso University's Poetry Review. She is the former editor of the formalist journal Victorian Violet Press. Her poems have appeared in The Lyric, The Raintown Review, Westward Quarterly, and Angle Literary Journal, among others. Karen lives in Hemet, California, with her British husband.


Kim Bridgford
Deborah Bruce
Melissa Garcia Criscuolo
Barbara Crooker
Elise Hempel
Katherine Hoerth
Sujata Iyengar
Karen Kelsay
Siham Karami
Miriam Kotzin
Jean L. Kreiling
Luann Landon
Jenna Le (Featured Poet)
Lesléa Newman
Angela O'Donnell
Renée M. Schell
Susan Spear
Rebecca Starks
Cara Valle
Marilyn Westfall
Joyce Wilson
Marly Youmans


The two most recent additions to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline are Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Eileen R. Kinch and Marceline Desbordes-Valmore by Anna M. Evans.

Wendy Videlock is the recipient of the 2016 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

The Cheryl Yun Collection is a range of image-based sculptural objects or "products," from handbags to clothing, which simultaneously mirror and subvert fashion and consumer culture to reveal, question, and reevaluate one's relationship to the world.The Cheryl Yun Collection handbag series is handcrafted and features newspaper photographs of tragedy and catastrophe, religious and political conflict, as well as issues of beauty and control, while the Cheryl Yun Collection: lingerie and bathing suits is an image-based series of underwear, which questions the "victims" and "aggressors" of our current political, economic and religious conflicts.
32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

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