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KAREN SKOLFIELD

 

 

 

Karen Skolfield

Karen Skolfield’s book Frost in the Low Areas won the 2014 PEN New England Award in poetry and the First Book Award from Zone 3 Press. She received the 2015 Arts & Humanities Award from New England Public Radio, and has received additional fellowships and awards in 2014/2015 from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Ucross Foundation, Split This Rock, Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. New poems appear in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Baltimore Review, Hobart, Indiana Review, MIRAMAR, Pleiades, Structo, and others; she teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she earned her Master of Fine Arts.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Quake Kills Hundreds, Creates Island Off Coast

 

It would be days before the living arrived,

squelching through mud, walking upon

an island that turned away every insect’s hum,

 

every windborn seed. The new shore gave

the bodies purpose, washing upon it,

a land populated only by the dead.

 

The nearest let their hands touch

the new island’s edge, ebb back to water.

Goodbye, goodbye waved the hands of the dead.

 

Some even looked like they were waving hello,

or beckoning, but who would come?

Who among the living would claim an island

 

rising from the sea, ringed by bodies,

an island calling, arranging the dead in spokes?

Its residents so alike in their slackened faces,

 

the muslin skin, the blinks withheld,

no one attempting to climb out of the water which,

all agreed, was owned by none.

 

Someone had brought a little flag,

cloth with some color, a shape upon it,

not yet planted but almost, another way to war.

 

The newly dead slipping gracefully

from their old land which surprised the living,

who’d thought all grace was theirs.

 

 

 

©2015 Karen Skolfield

 

 

 

Author Links

 

Karen Skolfield home page

Interview with Karen Skolfield by Connotation Press

Poem by Karen Skolfield at the Poetry Society of America

 

 

 

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