Karen Stromberg


Iím going to give you three words,
the nurse told my mother,
which was a lie--a moment later
she asked for them back.
Mother couldnít find them,
looked around the room, dipped
one hand in and out of her pocket.
The truth is, it was my fault.
Iíd plucked them out of the air
and locked them in my mind,
just to see if I could.

* * *


Letís take your scatter-jump mind
out for an airing and fill it
with something permanent. See,
the same tree is always on the corner,
unchanged, and yet not unchanged.
Breathe in and out by the side of this lake.
Notice how self-contained it is, and yet
just under the surface so full of life.

You are being so good,
you are breaking my heart.

Go on, put the meander back in your walk.
Stop pretending that riot of sparrows
doesnít lift you up to the swinging branch.
Donít try to deny anything. I saw
the thorny fruit leave your hand.
I saw the sad face of the lake break
into a thousand laughing lines.

*previously published in Magee Park Poets Anthology

Karen Strombergís poetry has appeared in Red River Review, City Works, Pacific Review, Acorn Review and The San Diego Poetry Annual - 2006. Stromberg holds an M.A. in Creative Writing (fiction) and currently resuscitates books in the back room of a San Diego County library.