The Return – Karen McAferty Morris

At her return the house smells stale, varnished
with the aroma of morning coffee and the faintest
trace of her dog, dead nearly seven months.
Rugs woven by long-ago women
sway her attention, bold against the white tiles,
but the open door pours in low-angled light to reveal
a cat’s cradle of filament spun by miniature weavers
stretching underneath the china cabinet,
their dark, egg-riddled, secret home.

Gypsy-firelight colors toss
more strikes
of brightness from paintings
and pottery bowls.
Still, her thoughts flee
to dim corners and closets,
resisting their call,
yet heeding it. Fighting

To crush their spell, she steps out into the back porch where the lake breeze startles her into stasis, until the fledgling mockingbird gripping the fence latticework utters delighted cries at its parent’s return and a Moorish mosaic-winged swallowtail skims
the irises, tipping her toward a brief reprieve, a fragile felicity.

The afternoon stretches ahead, she wants to make it count
To know its worth
The minnows puckering the sun-pierced shallows will grow
The ferns will keep crawling out into the yard
The fractured surfaces of the stone path will be smoothed

The going forward as everything does.
The changes, the ballast.
The rising and falling, the light, the storm.

Karen McAferty MorrisKaren McAferty Morris loves poetry for its ability to lift both the heart and mind to discoveries, connections and, ultimately, comfort. Pairing photography and haiku is a favorite form. She is Poetry Editor of the NLAPW’s magazine The Pen Woman. Her work has appeared in Off the Coast, The Reach of Song, Emerald Coast Review, Haiku Journal, Panoply, Lyric Magazine, and Encore. Her chapbook Elemental was published in April 2018.