Monday, September 24, 2007

Two Poems: Karen Engelmeyer

The Kitten

When you asked me
whether I could
look after the kitten,
the one you'd found cowering
beneath your front steps,
that you'd taken in and fed
and now slept tentatively
(as though, already, she understood
the capriciousness of life),
on your living room floor
amid the mess and joyfulness
that, I imagine, is your daily existence, I said, "yes" almost immediately -
even before you mentioned winter looming, broached the possibility of snow,
the inevitable below-freezing temperatures.

Puzzled, and unsure
of my hasty response,
I thought of my father, long dead,
and how he'd wept
when I left him at the nursing home.
I remembered his face -
as I tried to explain
that I could no longer look after him
now that he had started to wander
in the night.

* * * * *

Going Back to West 87th Street

Yesterday when I phoned you
to tell you I had gone back
twenty-five years
and stood in our living room
with the brick wall
and the tiny adjacent kitchen
on West 87th Street -
I wanted to tell you
I had felt our love too.

You brimming
with stories about
your night
on stage.
Me, in your paisley robe,
laughing - no crying -
with delight
at your cleverness.

And then,
Your sadness
Engulfed me
like a giant wave and I was
gasping for breath.
After all these years I
still can't contain it -
that sadness
which followed us
like a shroud.

* * * * *

~ Karen Engelmeyer is an English (as in UK) English teacher working in the Princeton, NJ area and a closet poet. She's just started to submit her poems. This is her first appearance in ETR.


Anonymous said...

Nice job, Karen! I enjoyed your work.

Anonymous said...

Nice work, mate! Frankly, your works are just ruddy brilliant. I would love to read some more!