for some are soft, melted ice cream that avoids the spoon in the bottom
of the bowl. These endings swallow easy with sated moans, the promise
of confection-next. Other endings
are hard, plummets into canyons where rock shards rupture bone.
These endings descend brutal, fingers clawing dirt and air, limbs twisted
in chalk-outlined poses. When winter endings arrive,
listen first for the hum of bones stitching. Shepherds mend your path—
guiding you by stone and note. Do not fear your end,
worrying the final stanza’s shape. Instead, pour ink
into your thieves chest, swirling timeless as parchment
yellows with age.
Karen W. Burton serves clients as a book coach and developmental editor when not fulfilling her duties as Managing Editor for a small publishing company. Writer of both poetry and prose, her work has appeared in journals and trade magazines in the United States. Currently, her poetry appears in the Fall/Winter issue of Rat’s Ass Review, and her prose is included in the current issue of Book of Matches. She resides in the Midwest and serves as editor for the River Pretty Arts Foundation and its new compilation, Paddle Shots, III.