Sample Poems by Karen Mandell
That evening I took a fifteen-minute shower.
When I came down
into the kitchen,
I asked my son-in-law what happened
While I was gone. A lot,
Another galaxy swam through the universe
And is trailing along next to us, just
Course, it's affected our gravity and all of us
Will have a better sense of humor starting
Other things too just becoming evident.
I looked outside in the gloaming, my
Changed for the better, and locked eyes
With a wild turkey perched in the
tree behind the garage.
A grizzly stood on its hind legs to the west,
Beckoning me never
worry I'm on your side
And a wolf raised a protective paw.
The moon dropped low and
clucked to the turkey,
Who ran across the yard, showing off his fine legs.
clouds turned cartwheels in the yard.
Try a cartwheel, they whispered. It's not too
The grass stroked my ankles with small green hands
and tossed me in the air,
where the cedars
Reached over and murmured courage,
At the door, Hannah
lowers her eyes and voice,
Tells me not to blow away in the wind.
She doesn't want
her parents to hear
But they do and laugh and say it's impossible.
She's got a thing
about the wind, they explain.
I go out and she watches, urgent, from the window.
not until I'm out of sight
That the wind takes me, wraps me
In his gale-force arms,
jiggles and juggles
and tosses me down the block.
Finches and bluebirds, snuggled
In tree knots, shake their heads
And sing you're out of your element,
bally bally hoo
I grab a sturdy cloud-shelf
And hang on, body swaying like a
Tick tock, I'm going to drop.
But I don't. A nymph wrapped in
Holds me up. I open my mouth to thank her,
But a new blast shears my
She says she's Artemis and we spin down,
Doing the tango and two-step
we go, warblers supplying the music.
Dandelion hillocks cushion our landing,
plump pillows. Artemis blows me a kiss,
and the wind laughs at her small strong
In the News
They're bringing thousands of
buffalo to South Dakota.
I read aloud from the paper as we shoot down I-90,
Rochester, to see our girl and the baby.
How it goes, isn't it. First, buffalo. Then no
Now, stock buffalo like cans on a shelf.
Add to the pot that the landscape's
wild grasses, coneflowers, yarrow
ripped out for tilled fields, fallow
Unlikely they've thought this plan through.
Still, I'm lulled by the susurration of
the wind in the prairie grass,
all gone to seed by early July. Though there's no fooling
it's just the headwinds pushing against the car.
We make good time, hurtling
the ghosts of old growth forests,
copper-leaved beeches pulled down for septic
Somewhere else the mountains are cut down,
streams squeezed out and rolled up
I'm glad when Fred says to find a station
so I'm at least doing
pressing buttons, seek and scan
flat on my back, thinking of the muddled
Laundry in the dryer until our yogi
a cleansing breath, in through the nose,
A sharp exhale. I drew in chariots, their
Wheels raking my throat, whole armies
With bristling swords and rusted
The wounded, the dogs of war, the doomed children,
Their sandals, their
boots, their shredded sneakers.
On my great exhale, those ploughs rolled
Motorized, the oxen and horses free to eat sweet grasses.
Children tumbled, eyeing
Their clothes, patched and clean, covering
Healed limbs. Triumph of the
Men and women held the elbows of those
Not so strong. Some birds had
For straw hats, and I sneezed out a tumultuous riot
Of Bartlett pears,
seed cakes, sweet wine,
Mandarin oranges, and jars of honey left over
From the Queen
Bee's birthday party.
Well, not just hers-we were all born that day,
The lights overhead
singing our marvelous song.
They're putting strange things
On the paper's second
Yesterday, someone found an emerald
Worthy of Catherine the Great
North Carolina farm.
In Romania, a dinosaur was shoveled
Out of his seventy million
Hidey-hole. A sturdy clawed fellow,
Back when Romania was an island,
world not having yet been settled into place.
Today, a woman was found stuck
chimney, feet first, at her boyfriend's house,
Raging mad, apparently, but the guy ran
In other news, a mayor's daughter shoplifted makeup.
Her father's mantra: Stop
Sipping hot cocoa, smoothing almond butter
On a rye cracker, I try to
categorize, make sense
Of it all. Animal and mineral, rage and want,
Stacked neatly in
Up and down the page.