Karen Vorbeck Williams

Copyright 2018 © by Karen Vorbeck Williams
P O E T R Y      
David and Lily
Sophie                                  Ella
Sophie                                  Josh
HomePretty: a memoirMy Enemy's TearsHouse on SeventhPhotographyGenealogyAbout & Contact

you have come and gone
while I was waiting.
The doorlatch is still warm in my hand
but the shadows moving in the hall
are only wind.

I whisper to you,
straining to hear the stairs creek.
Cry down the chimney!
Knock at the window!
Why does waiting never happen?

Half hidden in the floor crack,
I found the hairpin you dropped.
I expected to see you—
expected fluffs of dust
to part and blow as you passed.

In firelight I smelled you,
your lost image waning on the wall.
Oh, Lady, such restless knowing,
such awful waiting
to find your hand someday in the dark.

HomePretty: a memoirMy Enemy's TearsHouse on SeventhPhotographyGenealogyAbout & Contact

photo art: Michael R JUstice

Dressed only in a lacy slip
On a summer afternoon
Sits in her parlor fanning herself
With a pink silk Chinese fan.

Sipping lemonade among
Feathery ferns, she sighs,
Cooling herself.
From my place below on her oriental rug, 
I watch her fold the fan. 

Slowly, she lifts a white chamois buffer
In her lovely hands.
“You don’t need polish, precious,”
She says, lightly buffing each gently 
Tapered fingertip to a luster. 

Afterwards, for a story,
I am allowed to sit in her lap, 
To hold her hands, to run my fingers
Across the fine straight ridges
Above the half-moons of her nails.

Listening, I stroke her soft hand
And study the violet rivers in her palm
Then pinch the kitten pads on each finger.
I twist her diamond in the sunlight
And make the room fill up with stars.