I know your sister worries.
She thinks my illness will make
a nurse out of you,
that I have nothing
to give. It’s true
I suffer. You are certain
this will pass.
Today we take the train
north. I nudge you to look out
as rows of houses undulate
against the changing landscape.
Elizabeth Wilson is a tap dance enthusiast, chronic illness advocate, and Rising Voices of Narcolepsy speaker living in the North Carolina mountains. Her poems have appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Clementine Unbound, Cold Mountain Review, and Trouvaille Review.
Because Autumn Always Clotheslines Me
Already the sumac—ripened,
rusty red leaves, stark among the greens.
Not yet, I say. I say it every August,
though leafy lime katydids warn me,
chameleoned against the Japanese maples,
suddenly out-singing even the cicadas.
Stink bugs feast in the garden, a melancholy
thistle bends to a rumor of breeze.
Power Out on the Mountain
I started out this day elbowing
my grandmother’s forget-me-not
teacup off the counter beside the sink.
Sobbed as I swept a million jagged
memories, scattered across the kitchen floor.
Now my feet up, a glass of sweet tea,
I watch birds at the feeder.
A quarrel of house sparrows peck
at the smalls, gorge themselves on seed,
as if they deserve to.
I once told my grandmother a rich man
hurt me. Her bent head told me
to keep that story to myself.
I revisit what it means to be ruined
over and over in my sleep, imagine ways
to dismember him, as if that might help
glue my own broken pieces back together.
Kari Gunter-Seymour’s poetry collections include A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, winner of the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award and Serving. Her poems appear in numerous journals and publications including Poem-A-Day, Verse Daily, Rattle, World Literature Today, The NY Times, and on her website: www.karigunterseymourpoet.com. A ninth generation Appalachian, she is the founder/executive director of the Women of Appalachia Project (WOAP) and editor of the WOAP anthology series, Women Speak. She is a recipient of a 2021 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship and Poet Laureate of Ohio.