I live, write, and teach in Appleton, Wisconsin--about 35 miles south of the "frozen tundra." I am fascinated by good paper, poetry and the way ink moves forward on the blank page and words trail behind like a snake shedding its skin. Winner of the 2003 Main Street Rag Chapbook contest, I am the author of the collection A Theory of Lipstick (Main Street Rag: 2013) and seven chapbooks of poetry. Widely published (poetry, reviews and interviews), I was awarded a Pushcart Prize in 2011. www.karlahuston.com
In the Cemetery
near my father’s house
my mother moves
finally in her sleep
five crows face east
one turns on spidered feet
bows a black head
to sand and seed
the fragile hand
of a red leaf falling
-previously published in Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Calendar: 2014
Man in Gorilla Suit on the Corner with Balloons
Was it the smell of fur that drew you
to it, years of it embracing
the swelter of this day, you leaning
on the telephone pole, paw raised
to greet the cars that drove by?
It’s 93 degrees, but you look
almost perky with your biker shorts
and purple vest. All work is worthy,
I told a friend who delivered pizzas.
And yet, I wonder about the dignity
in zipping into those sweaty spaces.
How many have gone
before you, settled skin against skin
against poly-fur-something skin
and there you are breathing inside
the same plastic mask while you ape
your mitted hands, resigned to salute
and wave, to pound your chest
with some kind of joy?
What I Couldn't Say
were my “esses,” in third grade
my teacher sent me
to the speech therapist
to learn to control my lisp.
After weeks of staring into mirrors
tongue held behind the fence of my teeth
I finally got it. My hiss controlled, no
more schussshhing, no
darting tongue, I learned
to stare at birds, admire their sweet song,
the wires susurrating softly under them,
the squabbling squirrels.
Too bad her name is so short –
two syllables, a third of Idaho,
half of Idalina, a poor man’s
Bette Davis with bedroom eyes
and lips like silk cushions; her hair
is a dark flood of waves. Sweet Ida
Lupino, London born under a table
while zeppelins struck,
she was known as more
than a face, a body
of work enduring
but who knows her now?
Poor Ida, no more than a red pin
on an old map of film idols.
She’s been reduced to three
small squares, a brief mention
on 12 across, a clue for 10 down,
a puzzle fill-in where nothing else
will fit, a quick blip needed
to finish what was started.
©2015 Karla Huston