Karen Shepherd

Against the Therapist’s Glass

He asked if I could touch my body, rest
my elbow on my knee, my hands on my
waist. Swallowing, I watched the struggling fly
that hit against the window glass, a test
impossible to pass. A goal addressed
through ceaseless hard head blows. Outside, a sky
that can’t be reached. Continuing to try,
I heard wings batting in a pointless quest.

It couldn’t get out, then accepted brief
asylum on warmed sills with views instead
and waited for starvation’s mercy to
arrive. It lived indulgently on grief
before it gave up, it’s pain misread,
elusive light not enough to pull us through.

Medusa’s Breath

A breeze that never touches full tree limbs
can’t know the rustling green of summer days.
Left quiet, like a church without the hymns,
her currents still will pass in their own ways.

Through plains, she brushes purple blooms of sage
to see how colors mix against the sky.
A painting left upon a wordless page,
her breath releases in a steady sigh.

In hair, she tangles chill and bits of earth
to spread her seeds across the spiteful night.
A winged and lonely Gorgon has been birthed
and in her darkness, she now looks to bite.

Fair maiden raped on temple grounds now speaks
through poisoned kisses left upon stone cheeks.


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. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya. Her poems and fiction have been published in various journals including riverbabble, CircleShow, The Society of Classical Poets, Poets Reading the News, Haiku Journal and Tuck Magazine.

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