“a tired question” by Karen Shepherd

a tired question
you ask
so I try to answer
it’s an acorn my father gave me
thirty years ago, picked up
from the sidewalk outside
the church before mass
it’s the nuthatch at the feeder,
boundaries with doors,
the blue glow easing beneath
a curtain on a snowy morning
it’s water and breath, wheat and bone,
space and form, salt and fire,
borrowed and harnessed, broken and healed,
innate and grown, inarticulate and garnished
it’s listening to my mother retell stories,
my sister hum, my brothers calling
to their children as the moon
slides into place above the restless valley
it’s swallowing a rainbow
and allowing a cerebral infusion,
it’s a stepping forward and back,
the soft lapping of currents on stone
it’s a tucking in, a tough line drawn,
a soft shadow to cloak within,
a haven, a hole, a battle call,
the moment now and just passed, it’s coherence
it’s you next to me
asking me to define this matter
we hold in this very space
so invisible, so tangible, so light



Karen Shepherd lives in Portland, Oregon, where she enjoys walking in forests and listening to the rain. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in various online and print journals including most recently Elephants Never, Neologism Poetry Journal, Cirque Journal, and Mojave Heart Review. Follow her at https://twitter.com/karkarneenee.

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